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New Data Reveals Intoxicated Pedestrians Account for More Than a Third of Pedestrian Fatalities

August 20, 2013

Although most people recognize the risk of alcohol impairment when operating a motor vehicle, fewer individuals are aware that intoxicated pedestrians in the vicinity of motor vehicles can pose a comparably dangerous risk.  According to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), more than a third of all fatal pedestrian crashes involve a drunk pedestrian, which is the same percentage of motor vehicle fatalities caused by drunk drivers.  The results of the study demonstrate that whether a person is operating a motor vehicle or walking for exercise, alcohol and motor vehicles in close proximity are a dangerous combination.

The data from the NHTSA, which was recently reported in a New York Times article, reveals that 35 percent of pedestrian accident fatalities involve a person who was walking, jogging or running with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 percent or higher, which is the threshold for presuming a driver is too impaired to legally operate a motor vehicle.  According to the report, 1,547 pedestrians who were killed after being struck by a motor vehicle had a BAC level of .08 percent or higher.  The percentage of pedestrians who suffered fatal injuries in collisions that were intoxicated was over 50 percent for those between the ages of 25 to 34.  Almost half of those in their early twenties and those in their mid-thirties to mid-fifties that died after being hit by a car were impaired by alcohol.

While most people presume that fatal pedestrian crashes that are alcohol-related involve drivers committing DUI, the NHTSA data suggests that alcohol impairment by those drinking and walking poses an even greater risk to pedestrians.  Pedestrian fatalities caused by alcohol-impaired drivers accounted for only 13 percent of all deadly collisions between motor vehicles and pedestrians.

A spokesman for the Governors Highway Safety Association explains this anomaly by pointing out, “What it (the data) says to us is that nationally we’ve done a good job of educating people about the dangers of drunk driving, but we haven’t done such a good job of reminding them that other drunk behavior, including walking, can be just as dangerous.” 

When pedestrians are drunk, they may suffer impaired judgment, distorted perception, misjudgment of speed and distance, lack of coordination and other effects that increase their risk of being struck by a motor vehicle.  Because our Atlanta pedestrian accident attorneys at Montlick and Associates see the tragic consequences of drunk walking and drunk driving, we urge our friends, neighbors and other members of the Atlanta community not to walk or drive while intoxicated.

If you or someone you loved has been injured in a pedestrian accident or a family member has died, you may have a right to pursue a legal claim for personal injury or wrongful death.  Our experienced Georgia accident attorneys at Montlick and Associates are available to provide effective legal representation to those throughout all of Georgia and the Southeast.  No matter where you are located our attorneys are just a phone call away, and we will even come to you. Call us 24 hours a day/7 days a week for your Free Consultation at 1-800-LAW-NEED (1-800-529-6333).  You can also visit us online at and use our Free Case Evaluation Form or 24-hour Live Online Chat.

Category: Personal Injury

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