The risk of walking around intoxicated

By definition, driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs involves driving, not walking.

Walking while intoxicated, by contrast, is not a crime (except possibly for public drunkenness depending on level of intoxication). But it can result in serious injuries to ourselves or others, in the form of pedestrian accidents.

Here are a couple of things to be aware of about walking and chemical impairment.

National data shows deaths among intoxicated walkers are going up.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that an average of around 2,000 pedestrians die annually with a blood alcohol content sufficient to classify them as legally intoxicated (which means .08 or higher across the country).

Pew Research shows that overall pedestrian deaths jumped 27 percent from 2007 until 2016.

Pedestrians are always highly vulnerable when hit by a motor vehicle.

Pedestrians are obviously at a huge disadvantage when up against cars.

Ideally, pedestrians and drivers alike would always be vigilant, obeying the rules of the road and each staying out of the other’s way.

When alcohol is added into the mix, however, pedestrians might take chances they wouldn’t take otherwise, including:

  • Jaywalking/not using crosswalks
  • Stepping out from between parked cars
  • Falling into the roadway (and being injured or being struck by a vehicle)
  • Crossing against yellow lights
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