State Highway Safety Offices and their partners should broaden their anti-drunk driving campaigns to encourage cyclists and pedestrians to consider safer transportation alternatives after heavy drinking according to The US Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). They issued a report in April indicating that the ratios of fatally injured alcoholimpaired bicyclists and pedestrians has not fallen as dramatically as the proportion of impaired motor vehicle drivers killed and this remains a significant problem.
The IIHS study examined traffic deaths for motorists, pedestrians and bicyclists from 1982 to 2014, using a federal database. It found that the percentage of pedestrians who were fatally injured and had blood alcohol readings of at least .08 had declined from 45% in 1982 to 35% by 2014; the percentage of bicyclists with high BACs dropped to 21% from 28% in the same period. In that same period, however, the percentage of motorists in DUI fatalities dropped to 32% from 51% . The study also found that the biggest reduction for traffic fatalities involving pedestrians and bicyclists concerned those who were between the ages of 16 to 20 – a reduction the researchers attribute to raising the drinking age to 21 over that time. “The public needs to be better informed about the dangers of alcohol impairment for anybody on the road,” lead author and senior IIHS researcher Angela Eichelberger said in a statement. The IIHS and the Governors Highway urged state highway officials to broaden anti-DUI campaigns to reach pedestrians and remind them of the risk.