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Rise in Accidents Due to Drunken Walking on New Years Eve. Be Careful!

Update Date: Dec 30, 2012 06:05 AM EST

New Year's Eve happens to be the one of the deadliest days for pedestrians due to the excessive alcohol consumption that takes place and the accidents that follow on the streets.

According to a report by the journal Injury Prevention, New Year's Day is more deadly for pedestrians than any other day of the year. Statistics reveal that between 1986 and 2002, 410 pedestrians were killed on New Year's Day. Fifty-eight percent of those killed had high blood-alcohol concentrations (BAC).

Apart from New Year's Eve, alcohol also plays a significant role in the death of pedestrians throughout the year, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

In 2008, 38 percent of fatally injured pedestrians who were 16 and older had blood-alcohol concentrations at or above 0.08 percent, which in Illinois can get someone charged for impaired driving. The percentage rose to 53 percent for deaths occurring between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m. Fourteen percent of pedestrian deaths involved drivers with blood alcohol content at or above .08 percent.

"Alcohol impairs your judgment, reflexes and coordination. Alcohol is nothing more than a socially acceptable, over-the-counter stimulant/depressant and, especially during the holidays, alcohol is frequently abused," Dr. Thomas Esposito at Loyola University Health System in Maywood, III was quoted as saying by the website NewsWise.com.

But in case of drunken driving, there always is a possibility of being stopped by the police and avoiding a potential accident, whereas with pedestrians this is not the case.

"If they had been driving and were stopped by police, they would have been arrested for driving under the influence," Esposito added.

The statistics also do not take into account the injuries that people have in their household when they are drunk and violence after drinking.

"It's not just walking outside. We often see people who have been drinking that have fallen down the stairs or tripped at home and injured themselves. Others have unwisely chosen to 'get into it' with guns, knives, bottles and fists," Esposito said.

It is thus very important to drink responsibly and make sure you follow certain basic precautions if you are drinking on New Year's Eve or for that matter, any other day of the year.

If you decide to walk and not drive, following certain basic measures such as not wearing dark clothes in the night, walking on the sideways and designated crosswalks rather than on the roads, and walking in groups so that drivers on the road can spot you easily, will help you to enjoy your new year  and return home safely.  

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