Friday, April 19, 2024

DUI News Blog

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Walking Under the Influence of an Intoxicant?

Steve ObermanAccording to data released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and reported in the Washington Post,  walking under the influence of an intoxicant may be more hazardous than driving under the influence of an intoxicant.[1]

In 2011, 35% of pedestrians who were killed had blood alcohol content (BAC) levels above the legal limit for driving.  In those crashes that resulted in pedestrian deaths, only 13% of the involved drivers had BAC levels over the legal limit.

The data includes records on pedestrians of all ages and a careful review of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration information reveals some interesting statistics.  For instance, among the fatalities for pedestrians who were older than age 55 or younger than age 20, less than a third were alcohol impaired.  However, among the pedestrians aged 25 to 34 years old, a full half of those who were killed were alcohol impaired.

Alcohol affects judgment, regardless of the activities involved.  For pedestrians who have been drinking, the article cites impaired judgment that can lead to fatal decisions like crossing the road in the wrong place, crossing against the light, or trying to beat an approaching vehicle.

The Washington Post article quotes Jonathan Adkins, a spokesman for the Governors Highway Safety Association.  “What it (the data) says to us is that nationally we’ve done a good job of educating people about the dangers of drunk driving, but we haven’t done such a good job of reminding them that other drunk behavior, including walking, can be just as dangerous.”

The study, though, fails to consider the type of safety precautions available for the pedestrians in question.  For instance, information indicating whether sidewalks, crosswalks, or traffic control devices were available for the pedestrians appears to be lacking.  One wonders if many of the deaths were caused in whole or in part by factors other than intoxication.



[1] Mr. Oberman would like to thank University of Tennessee Law School student Anna Xiques for her assistance in researching and preparing this blog entry.

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Steve Oberman

Steve Oberman

Since graduating from the University of Tennessee Law School in 1980, Mr. Oberman has become established as a national authority on the intricacies of DUI defense law. Steve is a former Dean of the National College for DUI Defense, co-author of a national treatise ("Drunk Driving Defense" published by Aspen/Wolters-Kluwer), and author of "DUI: The Crime and Consequences in Tennessee" (published by Thomson-Reuters/West). He has taught thousands of lawyers, judges, and members of the general public about the intricacies of this crime. Steve was selected as a Fulbright Scholar to teach American Criminal Law and American Trial Advocacy at the University of Latvia School of Law in 2019; in 2023 taught for a semester as a visiting professor at Eötvös Loránd University (ELTE) Faculty of Law in Budapest, Hungary; and as a Fulbright Scholar at the University of Ljubljana Faculty of Law in 2024. Steve has also presented at a number of judicial conferences in the United States and Canada as well as for law enforcement agencies, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Czech Republic Police Academy. As a Tennessee DUI attorney, Mr. Oberman has successfully defended over two thousand clients charged with Driving Under the Influence of alcohol and/or drugs. In 2006, Mr. Oberman became the first DUI lawyer in Tennessee to be recognized by the National College for DUI Defense as a Board Certified Specialist in the area of DUI Defense law.

One Response

  1. These are some impressive statistics. I am surprised that half the deaths between 25-34 are from people who were intoxicated. We all know that people make poor decisions while drunk. It seems that we truly have taught people not to drive drunk and we need to educate them to put themselves in safer situations when they choose to be intoxicated.

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