According to government data released Monday, more than one-third of the pedestrians who were killed in 2011 had blood levels that exceeded the legal limit for driving, and 1,547 of the pedestrians who were killed would have been considered intoxicated under the law. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that half of the 625 pedestrians aged 25-34 who were killed were alcohol impaired.
This data was released because Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx is beginning a new initiative to help reduce pedestrian deaths.
Jonathan Adkins, a spokesman for the Governors Highway Safety Association, said more people might be walking home after drinking in order to avoid driving drunk.
"What [the data] says to us is that nationally we've done a good job of educating people about the dangers of drunk driving, but we haven't done such a good job of reminding them that other drunk behavior, including walking, can be just as dangerous," Adkins said.
Pedestrians are not the only ones who are starting to make poor decisions because they are impaired.
"We're starting to see this with bicycles as well in cities that have bike share programs," he said. "People wanting to do the right thing that had too much at happy hour and they jump on a bike.”
There is not much data on drunk biking, at least not yet, Big Story reported.
“Bicyclists are a small number of fatalities anyway," Adkins said. "But it makes sense. For the same reason there are drunk pedestrians, you're going to see drunk bicyclists. You can be alcohol impaired with just a few drinks. It's not that you're sloppy drunk and falling over, it is just that you're above .08."
Studies have also shown that people talking on their cell phones while walking are more likely to make mistakes.
"We've done a good job alerting people to the dangers of being a distracted driver, but we haven't done a good job of alerting people to the dangers of being a distracted pedestrian," Adkins said.