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On New Year's Day, walking intoxicated may kill you



Fifty-nine percent of pedestrians killed on New Year's Day were drunk, compared to 34 percent every other day of the year, according to Mother Jones.
Fifty-nine percent of pedestrians killed on New Year's Day were drunk, compared to 34 percent every other day of the year, according to Mother Jones.
Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Mother Jones magazine has some cautionary advice for New Year's partygoers: Be careful walking drunk.

The magazine analyzed the most recent pedestrian death available from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA.) It found:

Mother Jones reporter Maggie Oatman attributes this disparity, in part, to the fact that intoxicated walkers are more likely to engage in risky behavior. Another explanation, she says, is that some drivers are also drunk – though, not as drunk as the walkers. She writes:

"In nearly half of the traffic crashes that killed pedestrians in 2012, the driver or the walker (or both) had consumed alcohol, according to the NHTSA. But get this: Pedestrians in these crashes were more than twice as likely as drivers to have had a blood alcohol level greater or equal to 0.08 grams/deciliter, or above the legal driving limit—34 percent of walkers versus 14 percent of the drivers."

Here in LA…

So, what do Los Angeles law enforcement agencies plan on doing to ensure pedestrian safety early on New Year's Day?

Los Angeles Police Department spokeswoman Norma Eisenman says officers will be more focused on cracking down on drunk drivers rather than on intoxicated walkers.

Still, she says, if officers with the LAPD or Sheriff's Department see someone visibly drunk at, say, the county's New Year's Eve party in Grand Park, they could arrange for a safe transport for that person – or decide instead to book him for being intoxicated in public.

Your options

Now that you've read all this, you're probably ticking through your New Year's Eve transportation options:

If walking is unavoidable, Oatman offers this advice:

"Don't wear dark colors, stay out of the road as much as possible, and walk in a group (ideally with some sober folks sprinkled in)."

Still, she says, "if you can't call a cab or squeeze onto the subway, your best option is to grab a pillow and stay put."

How will you be getting around safely on New Year's Eve? Tell us about it in the comments section below or e-mail us at Impatient@scpr.org.