From Our 2011 Archives

Walking While Drunk Can Lead to Deadly Accidents: Expert

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 14 (HealthDay News) -- Most everyone knows the dangers of driving under the influence of alcohol. With the holidays approaching, an expert warns that walking under the influence of alcohol can also have deadly consequences.

"Every movement ranging from driving a car to simply walking to the bathroom is compromised," Dr. Thomas Esposito, a trauma surgeon at Loyola University Health System in Maywood, Ill., said in a university news release. "Alcohol impairs your judgment, reflexes and coordination."

Over the past 25 years, Esposito has seen firsthand the adverse effects of "drunk walking." From July 2009 to June 2010, 55 people who'd been struck by a car had their blood-alcohol content checked. Of those, "24 percent had blood-alcohol concentrations at or above 0.08 percent, the accepted level for intoxication," he said.

Although alcohol is involved in many pedestrian deaths throughout the year, alcohol-related pedestrian deaths reportedly peak on New Year's Day. Esposito noted that in addition to these cases, many people are injured at home after drinking too much.

"It's not just walking outside. We often see people who have been drinking that have fallen down the stairs or tripped at home and injured themselves," Esposito said. "Others have unwisely chosen to 'get into it' with guns, knives, bottles and fists."

-- Mary Elizabeth Dallas

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SOURCE: Loyola University Health System, news release, Dec. 6, 2011