As Halloween approaches, AAA is raising concern for a dangerous traffic safety trifecta – increased pedestrian activity, drunk driving, and distracted driving – all of which converge this Halloween weekend. The holiday falls on a Saturday this year, followed a few short hours later by the end of Daylight Saving Time at 2 a.m. Sunday, November 1.
While Halloween festivities will likely look different for many communities, parents, trick-or-treaters, and party goers, those planning to celebrate should not lose sight of safety first.
A scare in good fun is expected on Halloween, but AAA warns, not when it comes to child pedestrian safety. The number of pedestrian-related fatalities among children increases significantly on Halloween. The Centers for Disease Control notes that on Halloween night, children ages 5-14 are four-and-a-half times more likely to be killed by a motor vehicle than any other night of the year.
- According to Safe Kids Worldwide, children are more than twice as likely to be hit by a car and killed on Halloween than any other day of the year.
- The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that Halloween is consistently one of the top three days of the year for pedestrian injuries and fatalities.
“With an increased risk of pedestrian crashes on Halloween night, AAA Northern New England urges parents to take the time to make trick-or-treaters and their costumes safer and more visible to motorists,” said Pat Moody, manager of public affairs for AAA Northern New England. “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.”
Halloween is also a statistically dangerous night for drunk driving. The combination of drinking and increased pedestrian traffic on Halloween is a deadly combination. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHSTA) found that:
- During the Halloween nights from 2013-2017, there were 158 people killed in drunk-driving crashes.
- During Halloween nights from 2013-2017, 42% of those killed were in traffic crashes that involved a least one drunk driver
To keep roadways safe this weekend and on Halloween night, AAA offers tips for parents and children:
- Watch carefully for children crossing the street. Children may not be paying attention to traffic and might cross mid-block or between parked cars. Motorists should scan far ahead in traffic to watch for children and try to anticipate their actions.
- Look out for children in dark clothing. Children may be difficult to see if they are wearing dark costumes or masks. Be aware that masks may hinder a child’s peripheral vision, and they may not be able to see a vehicle.
- Pay close attention to all traffic signs, signals and markings.
- Do not do anything that will distract you from driving or walking safely.
AAA safe costume tips for parents and children:
- Purchase or make fire-resistant costumes and headpieces.
- Avoid masks since they block children’s vision and peripheral vision. Use non-toxic and hypo-allergenic make-up instead.
- Fasten reflective tape or bicycle reflectors to costumes.
- Avoid large costumes or bulky cloaks and shoes that can cause children to trip and fall.
AAA offers partygoers these tips:
- Designate a sober driver; don’t drive if you’ve been drinking.
- If you have been drinking, call a cab, ride app or have a sober friend or relative drive you home.
- If you cannot find a safe ride home, stay where you are until you are completely sober.
- If you’re hosting a party, serve non-alcoholic beverages, food, less alcohol and desserts.
- Make sure your guests do not drive home impaired.
- Don’t serve anyone under 21 alcoholic beverages. It’s against the law.
- When driving, be sure to watch your speed. Motorists should slow down as they drive through neighborhood areas, preferably five miles per hour less than the posted speed limit.
- Discourage new, inexperienced drivers from driving on Halloween.
As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 61 million members with travel, insurance, financial, and automotive-related services. Operating 18 offices throughout Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont, AAA Northern New England is a not-for-profit, fully tax-paying corporation and serves as an advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. AAA Northern New England can be visited on the Internet at aaa.com