By: Danielle Furfaro
Original Source: nypost.com
Nearly one in five pedestrians killed on city streets in the past decade were drunk at the time, a study has found.
The analysis by Alcoholic.org found 18 percent of pedestrians over age 16 who were fatally struck were boozed up. The figure represents 213 of the 1,208 pedestrians killed in city traffic from 2005 to 2014.
“A person in an inebriated state is not taking the same precautions that they would while sober,’’ said data analyst Tristan Harris.
For example, he said, “they are possibly stumbling into the roadway from the sidewalk.”
Still, Harris suggested at least some of the deaths might not be the fault of the drunken victim but instead related to the fact that they tend to walk around during the same hours that more drivers are drinking.
About 22 percent of the drivers who died in the city over the same period were also drunk, the study shows.
Harris said Alcoholic.org, which tackles issues of alcohol abuse, conducted the analysis to start a conversation about staying safe after drinking.
“People may think that after a night in the bar, it is safer to walk home than driving, but it’s still unsafe,” he said. “They might want to call a friend or a taxi.”
Pedestrians are considered drunk if their blood-alcohol content was 0.08 percent or higher when they were struck. Operating a vehicle with a blood-alcohol level of more than 0.08 percent is illegal in all 50 states.
Alcoholic.org used data provided by the US Department of Transportation’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System, which has been tracking details of traffic deaths since 1975.
A transportation-safety advocate said New York City streets should be safe even for pedestrians who have had a few drinks.
“It’s a part of city life to be able to have a few drinks at the pub and walk home,” said Steely White, director of Transportation Alternatives. “It should not be a death sentence. Our streets should be forgiving enough that death is not an outcome.”
City officials said they are working on making the streets safer.
“Vision Zero is about protecting everyone from fatal and serious crashes, which we believe are preventable,” said city Department of Transportation spokesman Scott Gastel, referring to Mayor de Blasio’s initiative to curb traffic deaths.
Some city pedestrians admitted they tend to take chances after drinking.
“I feel so brave that I will just make it across before the light turns,” said Maria of Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, who declined to give her last name. “The only thing I’m worried about is throwing up and embarrassing myself.”
The study was part of a state-by-state analysis set to be released Monday.
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