Drinking and walking

As the holiday social season reaches its peak, we’ve all heard the warnings about drinking and driving: Don’t. But there’s also another danger: drinking and walking.

Over the past three years, 36% of the pedestrians killed in Virginia crashes had been drinking prior to the accident, according to the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles. As of Wednesday, 26 pedestrians who had been imbibing were killed in crashes across the state. Of those, five occurred in the Richmond area: one each in the city of Richmond and Chesterfield County and three in Henrico County.

The statistics are startling. Between 2016 and 2018, 39% of these fatalities occurred on a Friday or Saturday; 80% occurred between the hours of 6 p.m. and 3 a.m.; and 71% occurred in urban areas, according to the DMV.

As law enforcement officers launch their semi-annual “Drive Sober or Get Pulled” campaign to fight drunken driving across the state, the DMV is also calling on Virginians to be mindful of the danger of walking while drinking.

It’s important to be alert and aware of your surroundings, DMV Commissioner Richard D. Holcomb said in a statement. “Walking is seen as a safe mode of transportation after imbibing, but we know that alcohol consumption can put pedestrians at risk. Driving yourself isn’t an option, but plenty of great alternatives exist, such as public transportation, taxis, app-based transportation services, or a designated driver.” As the saying goes, arrive alive.

— Pamela Stallsmith

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