If I had to pick a most embarrassing aspect of myself from my past, it’d probably be that I used to drive around the city of Seattle drunk out of my fucking mind constantly. You ever go full on Foreigner and do that thing where you have to close one eye to drive properly on account of the double vision? I hope you don’t know what I’m talking about I really do, but it was typical shit in my world for years.
Anyway, one of the ways I always justified this to myself was to be all: well c’mon, drinking isn’t that much harder than walking. You’re just hitting a couple pedals and turning a goddamn steering wheel. I could just as easily accidentally fall in front of a bus if I was wasted walking through the city. I mean sure, I could kill or maim other people and all but what am I gonna do, not drive home when I’m black out drunk? I did in fact have white guy in a Honda in Seattle police invisibility powers, so I just ran with it. The point is that holy fuck am I lucky and stupid buuuut, I also did have a bit of a point about the drinking and walking thing I suppose. (from the Huffington Post, yeah, yeah, yeah):
“WASHINGTON — It’s 11 p.m. on a typical Saturday on U Street and music is blaring from the glittery bars and clubs. Many of the partiers, decked out in their finest, will stick around till the bars close at 3 a.m., then pour out onto the sidewalks — and sometimes into the streets.
“I’ve seen drunk people wandering into the street around 2 or 3 in the morning like zombies,” said Austin Loan, a bouncer checking IDs at Hawthorne, a restaurant with five bar areas and DJs on the weekends. “When you get drunk you think you can rule the world. You may not be paying attention to anything else.”
That could have deadly consequences.
Whether they’re emptying out of bars, going home from football watch parties, or trying to get across the highway, drunken walkers are dying in traffic crashes nationwide at alarming numbers.
A third of pedestrians killed in crashes in 2016 were over the legal limit, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. That’s nearly 2,000 people — up more than 300 since 2014.
“Those numbers are pretty shocking,” said Jonathan Adkins, executive director of the Governors Highway Safety Association, which represents state highway safety offices. “We think this is a big problem.”
Being drunk can impact your judgment and reaction time and result in poor decision-making and risky behavior, such as crossing an intersection against the light or cutting across a road mid-block, safety experts say. You may not even be thinking about whether drivers can see you.
And while there are lots of programs designed to reduce drunken driving and improve pedestrian safety, there’s little out there aimed at impaired walkers.
“We’ve done a good job of educating people about drunk driving and the dangers,” Adkins said. “But we haven’t reminded people that if you’re too hammered to get behind the wheel, you may be too hammered to walk home in the dark.”
Pedestrian deaths are a growing concern. They jumped 27 percent from 2007 to 2016 while other U.S. traffic deaths dropped.
Distracted walking, and alcohol consumption by drivers and pedestrians are contributing to the problem, federal data shows.
And when alcohol impairment factors into a pedestrian death, it’s more often the pedestrian than the driver who is drunk.