Monday, January 11, 2010

DWW - Drunk while walking can be dangerous

From Science Daily on 12/31/09:

This is the time of the holiday season when New Year's partiers are inundated with warnings about the risks of drinking and driving.

Little is ever heard, though, about the risks of drinking and walking, which can be just as dangerous, said trauma surgeon Dr. Thomas Esposito at Loyola University Health System in Maywood.

"Alcohol impairs your physical ability to walk and to drive," Esposito said. "It impairs your judgment, reflexes and coordination. It's nothing more than a socially acceptable, over-the-counter stimulant/depressant."

A trauma surgeon for more than 20 years, Esposito has witnessed the tragic aftermath of drunken walking professionally and personally. Several years ago, Esposito's cousin of his opted to walk instead of driving home from a party where he had been drinking.

"A driver, who I don't believe was intoxicated, did not see him and hit him and he was killed," said Esposito, who is also professor of surgery and chief of the division of trauma, surgical critical care and burns in the department of surgery, Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine. "They found him on the side of the road on New Year's Day."

In 2005, the journal Injury Prevention reported that New Year's Day is more deadly for pedestrians than any other day of the year. From 1986 to 2002, 410 pedestrians were killed on New Year's Day. Fifty-eight percent of those killed had high blood alcohol concentrations.

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