Drinking and Walking: Fatal Combination

Posted on January 6th, 2010
Posted in Alcohol Abuse

It is well-known that drinking and driving can be a hazard to anyone on the roads – but what about drinking and walking? According to a recent Science Daily post, the latter activity can be just as dangerous as the first.

According to trauma surgeon Dr. Thomas Esposito at Loyola University Health System in Maywood, "Alcohol impairs your physical ability to walk and to drive. It impairs your judgment, reflexes and coordination. It’s nothing more than a socially acceptable, over-the-counter stimulant/depressant."

Throughout more than 20 years as a trauma surgeon, Esposito has seen the tragic aftermath of drunken walking both professionally and personally. Esposito’s cousin opted to walk home from a New Year’s Eve party instead of drive as he had been drinking. Another driver – not believed to have been drinking – did not see the man and hit and killed him.

A journal Injury Prevention reported in 2005 that New Year’s Day is more deadly for pedestrians than any other day of the year. 410 pedestrians were killed on New Year’s Day between 1986 to 2002. Of those killed, 58 percent had high blood alcohol concentrations.

Throughout the year, alcohol also plays a significant role in the deaths of pedestrians. According to research from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, 37 percent of fatally injured pedestrians 16 and older had blood alcohol concentrations at or above 0.08 percent.

During the period spanning July 2008 to June 2009, of the 86 patients ages 16 and older who were treated at Loyola after being struck by cars, 18 were found to have some level of alcohol in their system. Of those, 14 had blood alcohol concentrations at or above 0.08 percent.
 

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