In a recent episode of Freakonomics Radio (www.freakonomics.com), which by the way can now be heard every other week on NPR, Stephen Dubner and Steve Levitt bring forth statistics that show mile-for-mile you are 8 times more likely to get killed walking home drunk than from driving drunk. Of course they are not proposing that you should go out, get drunk and then drive home instead of walking. While some of these walking-involved injuries result from walking in front of a moving vehicle, many are also due to falling down steps or other similar accidents that involve no one else other than the individual themself. They report that of the 34,000 people who died in traffic accidents in 2009, 41% of them were drunk. Furthermore, in that same year, 35% of the 4,000 pedestrians who were killed were also drunk. While that may sound like your chances as a pedestrian are slightly better, when you add in the number of miles travelled by those killed, it was far more dangerous to walk drunk. In fact, January 1st has been shown to be the deadliest day for pedestrians with over 50% of the fatalities occurring to those who were drunk. Check-out the full podcast at Freakonomics-Marketplace.
So what is the solution if you cannot drive or walk home? I suspect the simple answer to drunk walking remains the same as for drunk drivers. This New Year’s Eve (and any other time during the year), make sure that someone in your group is the designated driver. Then let someone else take you home if you do over indulge because I have lots of interesting things to talk about in the coming year and you don’t want to miss any of it. Also I highly recommend listening to Freakonomics as a New Years resolution for anyone interested in a slightly different but statistical view on everyday things in life.