State Highway Safety Offices should expand their anti-drunk driving campaigns in order to encourage pedestrians and bicyclists to look for safer transport options after drinking. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), today reported that the number of pedestrians and bicyclists who are fatally impaired by alcohol has not decreased as much as the percentage of impaired motor vehicle drivers who were killed. This is a serious problem. Surprisingly, over one-third of pedestrians, and one-fifth, of bicyclists who were killed in accidents in 2014 were legally drunk.
Bicyclists and pedestrians can be unsafe because of alcohol impairment. We support the IIHS’s recommendation to reduce alcohol consumption and encourage more ride-sharing. These strategies can be used in conjunction with other proven countermeasures to reduce risks for bicyclists, pedestrians, and cyclists. They could also prevent all road deaths. We agree with IIHS in that more research is required to determine the effectiveness of efforts made to reduce alcohol impairment among pedestrians and bicyclists.
This IIHS research result comes just a few weeks after GHSA’s annual pedestrian security report, which shows an unprecedented 11% rise in pedestrian fatalities for 2016. It further illustrates the need to reevaluate our traffic safety efforts in order to better protect all road users.