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On a pub crawl? Be careful when walking after drinking.

People are well aware of the danger of drunk driving. The good news is that drunk driving continues to decline, as reported by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. But people are still getting drunk. According to a 2017 survey published in JAMA Psychiatry, there has been a significant rise in the percentage of people who drink heavily.

While it is always better to not get behind the wheel after drinking, walking home in the dark while drunk poses its own set of risks. And for busy urban areas, including Denver, walking around on a night out can be deadly.

Drunk walking deaths on the rise

According to the Governors Highway Safety Association, the number of pedestrians killed when walking drunk has significantly increased in recent years. One-third of all pedestrians killed in accidents were over the legal limit at the time of the accident. The NHTSA reported 2,000 pedestrian deaths in 2016, up 300 from 2014.

The risks of walking drunk

Alcohol slows reflexes, impacts judgment and makes pedestrians take risks. This can lead to dangerous behavior, such as walking across a busy street at night. This is particularly true in areas where bars, restaurants and hotels are near each other.

Potential solutions

It is better to walk than drive when drunk. And some people are going to drink to excess on occasion. So the solution is not necessarily to blame the victim of a deadly crash.

In order to help pedestrians get home safely, some pedestrian advocate groups have suggested that safer roadways are the key to curbing the rise in fatalities for pedestrians. These including pedestrian medians, better lighting and more bridges. Public service announcements and campaigns highlighting the danger may also help.

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