Drunk, distracted drivers a concern this Halloween

Little children in Halloween costumes
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With kids across the state gearing up for trick-or-treating this Thursday, AAA released scary stats that show Halloween is a statistically dangerous night for distracted and drunk driving.

Halloween is consistently one of the top three days of the year for pedestrian injuries and fatalities, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHSTA). Children are more than twice as likely to be hit by a car and killed on Halloween than any other day of the year, according to AAA.

In Pennsylvania, pedestrian fatalities increased by 34 percent in 2018, with PennDOT crash data showing 14,292 crashes involved a distracted driver. In October 2017, AAA reports, cops made 3,657 drunk driving arrests.

The combination of drinking and increased pedestrian traffic on Halloween is a deadly combination. AAA and NHSTA found that:

  • One-fourth of all pedestrian deaths ranging in age from 5-14 occurred in the four days leading up to Halloween (October 28-31) in 2017.
  • On Halloween night 2017, 89 people were fatally injured in a traffic crash, with 13 percent involving alcohol.
  • In 2017, more than half of pedestrian fatalities on Halloween occurred with the pedestrian outside of a marked crosswalk.
  • From 2013 – 2017, 158 people were killed in drunk-driving crashes on Halloween night 
  • From 2013 – 2017, 22 percent of pedestrian fatalities on Halloween night involved a drunk driver. 
  • During that period, 42 percent of all people killed in motor vehicle crashes on Halloween night were in crashes involving a drunk driver. 

“With an increased risk of pedestrian crashes on Halloween night, AAA Mid-Atlantic urges parents to take the time to make trick-or-treaters and their costumes safer and more visible to motorists,” said Jana L. Tidwell, manager of Public and Government Affairs for AAA Mid-Atlantic.  “In addition, motorists must eliminate distractions, slow down and watch for children, as well as have a completely sober designated driver if drinking is part of a Halloween celebration.”

Here’s how trick-or-treaters can stay safe this Halloween

Parents:

  • Make sure Halloween costumes are flame-retardant and light in color to improve visibility.

  • Be bright at night – have trick-or-treaters use glow sticks or wear retro-reflective tape on costumes and on treat buckets.

  • Ensure that disguises don’t obstruct vision, and avoid facemasks. Instead, use nontoxic face paint. Also, watch the length of billowy costumes to help avoid tripping.

  • Ensure any props are flexible and blunt-tipped to avoid injury from tripping or horseplay.

  • Ask an adult or older child to supervise children under age 12.

  • Instruct children to travel only in familiar areas and along established routes.

  • Teach children to stop only at well-lit houses and to never to enter a stranger’s home or garage.

  • Review trick-or-treating safety precautions, including pedestrian and traffic safety rules.

Trick-or-Treaters:

  • Stay on sidewalks and avoid walking in streets if possible.

  • If there are no sidewalks, walk on the left side of the road, facing traffic.

  • Look both ways and listen for traffic before crossing the street.

  • Watch for cars turning or backing up.

  • Cross streets only at the corner, using traffic signals and crosswalks, and never cross between parked vehicles or mid-block.

  • Trick-or-treat in a group if someone older cannot go with you.

  • Tell your parents where you are going.

  • Carry a flashlight containing fresh batteries. Never shine flashlights into the eyes of oncoming drivers.

 

 

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