As excitement builds for Halloween, creative costumes and bags full of goodies become top priorities, while safety often becomes an afterthought. Because excited trick-or-treaters often forget about safety, drivers, party-goers and parents must be even more vigilant, as the risk of being injured by moving vehicles increases greatly during Halloween festivities.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that Halloween is consistently one of the top three days for pedestrian injuries and fatalities, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that children are four times more likely to be struck by a motor vehicle on Halloween than any other day of the year.
“Don’t drive or walk intexticated this Halloween,” cautions Pat Moody, manager of public affairs for AAA Northern New England. “avoid using cell phones while driving or walking. Everyone should prevent being intexticated while out on Halloween night. Crashes occur primarily between six and seven p.m. during the evening commute home and while young children are going door-to-door.”
A few scary statistics from NHTSA:
- Children are four times more likely to be struck by a motor vehicle on Halloween than any other day of the year. This is especially alarming considering an estimated 40 million children between the ages of five and 14 trick-or-treated in the United States in 2014.
- Halloween ranks as the third-deadliest day of the year for pedestrians.
- Nearly 40 percent of fatal crashes on Halloween night involve a drunk driver.
- One-third of Halloween crash fatalities involve a pedestrian.
- Forty-three percent of all people killed in motor vehicle crashes on Halloween (6:00 p.m. October 31 to 5:59 a.m. November 1) from 2009 to 2013 were in crashes involving a drunk driver.
- On Halloween Night alone 119 people lost their lives. (2009-2013).
- Children out trick-or-treating, and the parents accompanying them, are also at risk, as 19 percent of fatal pedestrian crashes on Halloween night involved drunk drivers. (2009-2013).
- 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.
- Cross streets only at the corner, 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, and place it face down in the treats bucket to free up one hand. Never shine flashlights into the eyes of oncoming drivers.
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.
To keep roadways safe this weekend and on Halloween night, the AAA offers these tips:
- 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.
- Don’t drive intoxicated, Don’t drive intexticated
As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides 59 million members with travel, insurance, financial, and automotive-related services. Operating 19 offices throughout Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont, AAA Northern New England is a not-for-profit, fully tax-paying corporation and a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. Today, AAA members benefit by roadside assistance, insurance products and services, travel agency, financial products, automotive pricing and buying programs, automotive testing and analysis, trip-planning services, and highway and transportation safety programs. Information about these products and services is available by visiting www.AAA.com.