Tomorrow Is the Deadliest Day to Be a Pedestrian

Drunk walkers tend to jaywalk, lie in the road
By Shelley Hazen,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 31, 2014 7:19 AM CST
Tomorrow Is the Deadliest Day to Be a Pedestrian

New Year's Eve culminates in a circus of drunk drivers and pedestrians going home after a night of merry-making—and experts say drunk pedestrians are eight times more likely to be killed on the way than drunk drivers. New Year's Day is the most dangerous day to be on foot, studies have shown; you're 1.7 times more likely to be killed while walking on New Year's Day than any regular day, reports Mother Jones. (Not surprisingly: Almost half of the fatal accidents take place during the wee hours, and 58% of the pedestrians killed are intoxicated.) Drunk driving is a well-known danger, but "the risks associated with drinking and walking aren't as clear to the average person," says one highway safety researcher. Half of 2012's fatal New Year's Eve crashes involved alcohol—and in those, 34% of the walkers were drunk versus 14% of the drivers. The reason is simple—drunk people often cross against a sign, jaywalk, or even lie down in the road.

So what can America's cities do about it? Lower speed limits and brighter street lights help, and some big cities are moving in that direction. We also need more observant bartenders willing to cut off tipsy customers, experts say. Even automotive technology is trying to curb the stats with a camera that slams your brakes if a pedestrian is in the way. But until then, New Year's Eve partiers will have to help themselves—by wearing bright clothes, sticking close to sober buddies, and staying in groups. You could also take Uber, of course, but Silicon Beat warns that the ride-sharing company will be charging much higher rates than usual—if you need a ride during the prime period between 12:30am and 2:30am, don't be surprised if you're charged a minimum of four to five times the typical rate. Last year in Pennsylvania, a Twitter user claimed a 4.85-mile ride cost $265. (These are the drunkest days of the year.)

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