Earlier this month, the federal government warned of the dangers of drinking and walking because more than one-third of pedestrian deaths in 2011 were for those who had been drinking above the legal limit for driving. Reports indicate that thirty-five percent of pedestrians killed on our roads and highways are doing so with a blood alcohol level above the legal limit.
Because of this, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has begun a new focus on reducing pedestrian deaths. That is an alarming statistic and one that concerns me as a Gwinnett County injury lawyer. What also concerns me is why this is happening and what can be done to avoid more injury and death.
Many are concerned as the Governors Highway Safety Association notes that more and more people may be walking home after drinking more than they should have, but that this night walking while intoxicated presents its own issues. Noting that alcohol impairs a pedestrians’ judgment and can result in bad decisions, such as trying to beat out an oncoming vehicle or run a light, the situation is equally dangerous for bicycle riders hoping that they will be safer while riding a bike after a night of drinking.
In addition to drinking and walking, another area of concern is the increase in injuries involving distracted walkers. A number of studies are showing that pedestrians are getting seriously injured and worse by walking and talking or texting.
Just today a young woman in Gwinnett County lost her life while walking on I-85. She got out of the car she was riding in as a passenger and started to walk up a ramp. She was intoxicated and it was dark. She had reportedly been having an argument with the driver of the car. Although the driver tried to alert authorities that she was walking on the road, the authorities were not able to reach her before she was struck and killed by another vehicle. The driver of that car will likely not be charged with any crime.
It is important to remember that being sober while driving or walking or biking is key to safety. If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident, please contact me at my law offices for a free evaluation of your situation.