Alcohol and pedestrians

  • Published: Department for Transport, 2001
  • Authors: Department for Transport
  • Date Added: 02 Feb 2013
  • Last Update: 02 Feb 2013
  • Format: html


In the context of reductions in drinking and driving, problems relating to alcohol and pedestrians tend to increase. This report presents the results from studies on alcohol and pedestrians.


A study of coroner’s files, a controlled study of Blood Alcohol Concentrations (BAC) from pedestrian casualties and a footpath survey of pedestrian BACs.

  • Key Findings:

  • The BAC distribution of those fatalities who were tested for alcohol showed no significant change since the earlier study undertaken in the mid 1970s.

  • The results of previous studies augmented by some evidence from the present studies of both fatal and non-fatal casualties suggest that, for males at least, the risk of RTI-involvement begins to increase dramatically at levels above 150mg/100ml.

  • The effect of countermeasures against drinking and driving was clear. Over a quarter of pedestrians who had been drinking had taken the conscious decision not to drive to and from their drinking venue.

  • It would be useful to monitor the drinking behaviour of pedestrians at intervals to determine whether their incidence is increasing. This study has shown that the footpath survey can provide useful information.

  • Countermeasures to the drinking pedestrian may be best based upon the general public health message of the dangers of excessive alcohol consumption.


Pedestrian casualties, alcohol, impairment, risk


Studies were relatively small scale but agree with the widely held link between pedestrian alcohol consumption and RTI risk. The study also makes a link between the reduction in drink driving and the relatively high numbers of intoxicated pedestrians in certain areas at certain times (i.e. to an extent the drink drive risk may have been displaced to pedestrians).