Drinking and driving is a dangerous combination, but walking after drinking isn't any safer, and if you need to get home after a New Year's Eve party, there's no way to appoint a "designated walker."
Trauma surgeon Thomas Esposito says, "Every movement ranging from driving a car to simply walking to the bathroom is compromised. Alcohol impairs your judgment, reflexes and coordination. Alcohol is nothing more than a socially acceptable, over-the-counter stimulant/depressant and, especially during the holidays, alcohol is frequently abused."
A trauma surgeon for more than 25 years, he has witnessed the tragic aftermath of drunken walking in his own work many times. He says, "From July 2009 to June 2010, 105 people were treated after being struck by cars. Fifty-five had their blood alcohol content checked. Of those, 16 individuals, or 29%, were found to have had some level of alcohol in their system. 13 individuals, or 24% had blood-alcohol concentrations at or above .08 percent, the accepted level for intoxication."
Alcohol also plays a significant role in the deaths of pedestrians throughout the year, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. In 2008, 38% of fatally injured pedestrians 16 and older had blood-alcohol concentrations at or above 0.08 percent. The percentage rose to 53% for deaths occurring during the 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. time period. Fourteen percent of pedestrian deaths involved drivers with blood alcohol content at or above .08 percent.
So if you're hit by a car on New Year's Eve, is it your fault? If the driver has been drinking too, it's probably the fault of BOTH of you. Esposito says, "If they had been driving and were stopped by police, they would have been arrested for driving under the influence."
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