Doctors warn that drinking and walking can be as dangerous as driving drunk

New Years Eve StatisticsThis year, many people have been listening to the requests of government officials and of insurance industry experts and are choosing not to drive after drinking, but many are surprised to hear that ER doctors are also stating that walking drunk can be dangerous, too.

In fact, while these medical professionals are saying that you should have a designated driver when you travel home after having anything with alcohol in it, they’re also recommending a “designated walker.”

Dr. Thomas Esposito from Maywood, Illinois’s Loyola University Health System said that pedestrian safety is a serious issue and it is one that many people should be considering for their New Year’s celebrations. Dr. Esposito is the trauma division/surgical care chief at the Chicago Stitch School of Medicine at Loyola University, and has personally witnessed the “tragic aftermath” of New Year’s parties where there have been drunken pedestrians.

He explained that “Alcohol impairs your ability to walk and navigate, especially if you’re in the dark.” He also added that as the hours following the celebrations for the New Year are some of the most dangerous for being near roads, the risk increases for pedestrians who have been drinking.

Dr. Esposito recommends that an unimpaired individual should chaperone those who have been drinking, even if they are simply walking home.

To illustrate the dangers of walking after having been drinking alcohol, the National Highway Traffic Safety Association’s statistics show that in 2008, 4,378 pedestrians died after being struck in traffic in the United States. In almost half of these cases, alcohol had been consumed by either the pedestrian or the driver.

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