Drunken Pedestrians

Drunken Pedestrians

The campaign focuses on the danger of pedestrians who have consumed alcohol. This is not a new problem. Because the debate over the past decades has focused on drink driving, this has been a largely overlooked area of road safety. But the facts speak for themselves: two thirds of pedestrians killed on our roads have consumed alcohol.

The Way Back – Rationale

This is a staggering statistic, and it is not new. When you are drunk, your coordination, focus, motor skills and awareness of your surroundings are all impaired. Impairing these faculties makes you as exposed as you can be on the road.

The TV campaign, which focuses on the issue of Drunk Pedestrians, brings to life how tangibly different the way to and the way back from a night out drinking can be. Because you are impaired, the path you walk back on will be a very different, much more dangerous one.
In our TV ad, we see a man walking from the outskirts of a small village to a pub. Behind him the road changes, edging out mysteriously and sinisterly into the road. The concrete pavement cracks and bursts from its seams, the tarmac hard shoulder ripples up, moving the partition between road and hard shoulder. The path home has already changed. We rejoin him at the end of the night, a little worse for wear and see him about to head home on this pavement that now wanders into and out of a dark road. He’s uneasy on his feet, and we understand that the way the road has morphed is reminiscent of the way in which our drunk pedestrian will now walk it. Our pedestrian walks off, and there is a sense of imminent danger.
The messaging on the screen reminds us that two thirds of pedestrians killed on our roads have consumed alcohol, and that the way back isn’t so simple. The commercial ends with a simple call to action. Going out? Plan getting back. This means organising collection afterwards, a lift, or sharing a taxi or hackney to get home safely.

The aim of the campaign is to get younger (17-24) and older (50+) male pedestrians who are most at risk and who believe they can safely drink and walk home (if they’re careful) to realise the danger they’re putting themselves in by telling them that two thirds of pedestrians killed on Irish roads had consumed alcohol. In particular we want people to sort their lift home before heading out to go drinking.

When you’re walking under the influence of alcohol you’re

  • unsteady on your feet making you less capable of crossing road safely and quickly and more likely to fall over or end up on the ground totally out of view of oncoming traffic
  • more likey to step out unexpectedly into path of oncoming vehicle because your judgment of distance and speed is seriously compromised

Half of people admit to walking home after drinking and of these, the majority have had 4 or more drinks. Two thirds of pedestrians killed on Irish roads for which BAC level information is available had consumed alcohol and of these 50% were 3 times over the legal driving limit.

A Millward Brown Lansdowne survey conducted for the Road Safety Authority in November 2009 found that 21% of respondents said they had consumed 5 or more alcoholic drinks and walked home.

The results of the Irish element (Amarach Research) of the 2010 European Sartre 4 survey revealed that 33% of non motorized road users (pedestrian/cyclists) believe that you can drink and walk in traffic if you do it carefully.

Table 1.Pedestrian killed by BAC level, 2005-2007*

Table 2. Pedestrian killed by BAC level and day of the week, 2005-2007*
stats_table1 stats_table2

*NOTE: The period covered by the research pre dates the lowering of the drink drive limits in October 2011 and includes data that covers the 18 month period before the introduction of Mandatory Alcohol Testing (July 2006).

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Research Behind the Campaign

A recent analysis, by the RSA, of Garda investigations into pedestrian fatalities, between 2005 & 2007, who had consumed alcohol found that:

  • When cases for which there was no BAC information available are removed, the figures show that 66% of pedestrians killed had consumed alcohol.
  • Of those almost 52% were over three times the limit.
  • The majority of collisions occurred in rural areas, at weekends and on dark unlit roads.