When you think about what alcohol negatively impairs, most people think of drunk driving (don’t do it!), drunk dancing (let’s face it, the only people who think those moves are cool also happen to be drunk), drunk cooking (which usually results in strange concoctions) and general decision making (was it really a good idea to give that person your phone number?). However, most people don’t consider walking something that could be a huge hazard as a result of drinking (unless you’re stumbling, that is).
Most people would be wrong. A study recently published by alcoholic.org shows that, when not counting passengers, more drunk pedestrians die on the roadways than drunk drivers. This may seem like an odd statistic, but it makes sense when you factor in how exposed pedestrians are when facing a collision with a two-ton metal tank.
Drunk Walking is Just as Dangerous as Drunk Driving
We mentioned in a previous blog that the number of pedestrian deaths for 2015 were the highest the state has seen in 20 years. According to a Nashville police officer who was assigned to conduct sobriety checkpoints for Saint Patrick’s Day last month, the 2015 celebration included 17 accidents that resulted in the deaths of 18 pedestrians. Of the 18 pedestrians WHO died, 72 percent were intoxicated. According to alcoholic.org, of all the pedestrians who died in Tennessee, 42 percent were intoxicated. A large portion of that percentage was from Nashville accidents.
Areas such as Lower Broadway are prime spots for pedestrian accidents, generally due to poor infrastructure. While the city is attempting to make improvements to that area by installing a pedestrian scramble, adding in some sidewalks and creating designated loading zones, city officials can’t really do much to prevent people from drinking at any one of the numerous of bars in that area.
City officials also can’t help that Nashville is becoming a hotspot for tourism and one of the fastest growing cities in the nation. Due to the number of apartments and condos going up in or around that area, it’s an ideal area for the (rather large) influx of young professionals moving to Nashville every day, many of whom would rather walk to and from these bars than drive. While this is definitely a far safer decision, Broadway can still present dangers to an intoxicated pedestrian, especially if they don’t know how to use the new pedestrian scramble (apparently, some have had trouble with this).
The City Needs to Do More to Protect the Population That Stumbles Home
Last year, a proposal was submitted to block off Broadway for cars on the weekends to accommodate the frighteningly large number of people that flock there. The proposal was shot down, but perhaps we should revisit the idea.
Nashville has been compared to Austin, Texas in regards to growth. Austin’s famed Sixth Street, known as a giant strip of bars not unlike Broadway, is shut down every weekend night so that the drunken pedestrian population may freely frolic without fear of injury (caused by cars, that is). If Nashville is growing at Austin rates, why then don’t we also accommodate our drunk and stumbling pedestrian population?
“He has made it clear to you, mortal man, what is good and what the LORD is requiring from you—to act with justice, to treasure the LORD’s gracious love, and to walk humbly in the company of your God.” Micah 6:8