It is common knowledge that driving while intoxicated is both extremely dangerous and a serious crime. A DUI can cost you your license, freedom and a good chunk of your bank account. What may be surprising is that walking while intoxicated can also be a serious risk to your safety and may even land you in jail.
According to a 2016 study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, nearly 2000 people – or one third of all pedestrians killed in accidents that year – were intoxicated at the time of the accident. These numbers are too high to not pay attention to.
Public drunkenness in Alabama
It is important to first note that public intoxication is against the law in Alabama. Simply being under the influence of alcohol is not a crime, but expect police intervention if you:
- Act in a way that puts yourself, other people or property in danger.
- Annoy another person by behaving in a boisterous or offensive manner
Anyone that has been around bars around closing time knows how difficult it can be for heavily intoxicated people to not partake in at least one of those behaviors.
Walking while intoxicated
This attitude is part of the reason people walking while over the limit are often in danger. “When you get drunk you think you can rule the world,” bar bouncer Austin Loan told Pew Research Trust. “You may not be paying attention to anything else.”
Having a cavalier attitude stems directly from alcohol’s ability to impair judgement. Combine this with slower reaction times and low light conditions and it is understandable why intoxicated people are so likely to run through intersections, or worse.
Nearly 20 pedestrians were killed in Austin, Texas in 2016 and 2017 while trying to run across I-35; an 8-lane, high-speed highway. The stretch where the accidents occurred most is flanked on one side by fast food restaurants and inexpensive motels on the other, according to local police Detective Pat Oborski. Despite there being a pedestrian bridge nearby, many intoxicated people tried to take a shortcut.
Know when to call a ride
What your limits are while at the bar is something every reveler should be intimately aware of. It is equally as important to know whether you are potentially putting yourself in danger by walking home.
Jonathan Adkins, executive director of the Highway Safety Association notes the fact that broader education may be necessary, “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.”
Do yourself a favor the next time you’ve had one too many, find a driver to safely get you from the front door of the bar to the front door of your home.