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Report suggests intoxicated pedestrians have become an issue

Pedestrian accidents, though a major concern here in New York City, are a problem all across the country. They are not confined to one city or one location; and the issue has reached a pretty alarming point. Fatal pedestrian accidents are up, and safety officials are doing everything they can to stem the tide.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, along with other federal aid, is launching a new campaign called “Everyone Is A Pedestrian.” The movement is meant to remind drivers to be particularly mindful of people walking near or across the street.

However, a report by the Associated Press seems to indicate that the emphasis of pedestrian safety may be in the wrong place. According to the report, roughly 35 percent of the pedestrian deaths that occurred in 2011 (there were 4,432) involved a pedestrian who was intoxicated beyond the 0.08 limit that drivers are held to. So, while drivers certainly need to be reminded that special attention must be paid to pedestrians (and other non-motor-vehicle objects), the pedestrians themselves also need to act in a safe and responsible manner too.

One thing to remember though is that just because a pedestrian is intoxicated based on the legal driving limit, it does not mean they acted in a negligent way or performed an illegal or dangerous traffic move (like jaywalking). The intoxicated element certainly complicates things for the pedestrian in terms of proving fault in the incident; but if the pedestrian is seriously injured and seeks civil litigation, a driver’s fault could still be established.

Source: Medical Daily, “Drunk Walking As Deadly As Drunk Driving? 1 In 3 Pedestrians Killed Have Blood Alcohol Level Above Legal Limit,” Nadia-Elysse harris, Aug. 7, 2013