42% of Accidental Subway Deaths Involve Booze


As we’ve stated here before, and elsewhere as well, one of our greatest worries in New York City living is falling, or seeing someone fall, into the subway tracks and, following that, being hit by a train. We write about it happening far too often, and it seems an awful way to go — in addition, it’s inconvenient for everyone waiting for the train, not least, the poor person hit. So, how to avoid it? Today, the Daily News reports that a large percentage of people who fall into the tracks are, somewhat unsurprisingly, drunk. “The 60-year-old man who fell to the subway tracks in Brooklyn Tuesday had a good excuse,” however, they write: “He was blind.” (And apparently sober. He also, luckily, survived.)

According to a report published in the Journal of Forensic Sciences that looked at subway fatalities occurring between January 2003 and May 2007, 76 deaths were accidental, and 42% of victims had been drinking, with an average blood-alcohol content of .20. The majority of accidental deaths occurred starting at 4 a.m. And 90% of the victims were men.

This is not news, exactly: Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health analyzed subway deaths between 1990 and 2003 and found that a large percentage of fatalities at that time also involved drinking. And remember’s anti-binge drinking campaign last year?

Of course, it’s far better to take the subway drunk than it is to drive drunk. Some tips: Aim for the middle of the platform — those blurry objects are benches, or maybe people, or rats — and watch for the holes in the ground marking the tunnel. Avoid them. If you’re too obliterated to see the tunnel, you should probably take a cab — or find a comfortable spot to sleep things off. (Later, rethink your drinking strategy. Carlos Cancel will not always be there to save you if you fall.)

Beyond that, if you’re sober and exhausted and just trying to get home or to work and there’s an obnoxious drunk in the subway at 4 a.m., resist the urge to push them into the tracks. You’ll regret it.

Sobering subway facts: Straphangers had been drinking in 42% of accidental deaths [NYDN]

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