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Is "drunk walking" more dangerous than drunk driving?

Earlier this week, we wrote about a recent study indicating that teenage drivers are more likely to drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs on New Year's Eve than on any other holiday or event. That study also reported that teenagers would refrain from driving drunk if one of their passengers asked them too.

But according to economist Steven Levitt, teenagers who choose to walk drunk instead of drive drunk may actually be putting themselves in more danger. This is because drunk walking creates a greater risk of pedestrian accidents, injuries and fatalities than the risk of car accidents caused by drunk driving.

In 2009, about 34,000 people were killed in traffic accidents in the U.S. About half of those killed were drivers, and 41 percent of the drivers were drunk. In the same year, approximately 4,000 pedestrians were killed in accidents, 35 percent of who were drunk.

This means that for every mile walked while drunk, the risk of dying is eight times higher than every mile driven while drunk. So if you need to travel one mile, you are eight times more likely to die if you walk that mile than if you drive it.

In addition, New Year's Day is one of the deadliest days of the year for pedestrians, and nearly 60 percent of those who die on the holiday are intoxicated.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a drunk driving-related pedestrian accident, please contact Breslin & Breslin for a free consultation.

Source: American Public Media, "Friends don't let friends walk drunk," Stephen Dubner, Dec. 27, 2011

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