"Alcohol impairs your physical ability, period," trauma surgeon Dr. Thomas Esposito at Loyola University Health System in Maywood, Ill., said in a statement. "Every movement ranging from driving a car to simply walking to the bathroom is compromised. Alcohol impairs your judgment, reflexes and coordination. Alcohol is nothing more than a socially acceptable, over-the-counter stimulant/depressant and, especially during the holidays, alcohol is frequently abused."
Esposito, a trauma surgeon for more than 25 years, said he has witnessed the tragic aftermath of drunken walking many times.
"From July 2009 to June 2010, 105 people were treated at Loyola after being struck by cars and 55 had their blood alcohol content checked. Of those, 16 individuals, or 29 percent, were found to have had some level of alcohol in their system, while 13 individuals, or 24 percent, had blood-alcohol concentrations at or above .08 percent, the accepted level for intoxication."
Injuries can occur whether walking drunk outside or inside.
"We often see people who have been drinking that have fallen down the stairs or tripped at home and injured themselves," Esposito said. "Others have unwisely chosen to 'get into it' with guns, knives, bottles and fists."