Trauma specialists at The Alfred are urging people to avoid excessive drinking and get home safely this party season after new figures revealed one in four pedestrians seriously injured by cars were intoxicated.
The study also revealed one in 10 cyclists who were hit by cars were affected by alcohol – some with a blood alcohol concentration as high as 0.4 (eight times the legal driving limit).
Lead author of the study, Emergency and Trauma Consultant at The Alfred Biswadev Mitra, said too often people were injured on their way home.
“Obviously we urge everyone to avoid excessive drinking, especially in a public place. But if you have had a few too many and you plan on walking home, make sure you have a sober friend with you or even better – get a cab,” Associate Professor Mitra said.
“The people in this study sustained very severe injuries – the sorts of injuries some people never recover from. If they do, it can take six months to a year before they are rehabilitated and the repercussions can stay with them for life.”
The study, Alcohol intoxication in non-motorised road trauma, reviewed all ‘non-motorised road users’ (including pedestrians, cyclists, horse riders and non-motorised scooter riders) who presented to The Alfred trauma centre between 2009 and 2014.
A/Prof Mitra said the trauma burden of intoxicated pedestrians and cyclists on Victorian roads was likely to be much greater than indicated in this study.
“We have no way of knowing how many serious accidents are caused by drivers swerving to avoid intoxicated pedestrians or cyclists on Victorian roads,” he said.
“We are also unable to measure the psychological impacts on the drivers who hit these people, who may be charged with a criminal offence depending on the severity of the accident.”
A/Prof Mitra said mandatory BAC testing in hospital emergency departments needed to be introduced for all people involved in road crashes – not just drivers.
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