Halloween safety

October 29, 2013 

Halloween is meant to be a time of spooky fun for both children and adults but unfortunately, monsters and ghosts aside, it can be one of the scariest days of the year for trick-or-treaters and motorists. Halloween has the unfortunate distinction as the day with the highest number of child pedestrian deaths all year, and it ranks among the worst for holiday-related DUI crashes and deaths.

The California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) is providing important tips and prevention education to ensure a fun and safe Halloween for everyone.

"We are strongly encouraging partygoers, parents and children to stay alert and safe this Halloween," said Chris Cochran, assistant director of the Office of Traffic Safety. "Watch for children and adults walking on roadways and in dark costumes — they'll be harder to see at night," said Cochran. "Be aware that trick-or-treaters may not be paying attention to traffic and may run out between parked cars. Motorists should scan far ahead when driving in residential areas, watch for people and cautiously monitor their actions."

In California, Halloween pedestrian deaths are double the average, with more than half involving alcohol or drugs. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in 2011, 44% of all highway fatalities nationwide during the Halloween period involved a driver with a blood alcohol concentration at or above the legal limit of .08%. This Halloween, motorists, partygoers and hosts should take the following tips into consideration when planning their celebrations:

Designate a sober driver.

Avoid driving through residential areas where trick-or-treaters are likely to be present.

Obey all traffic signs, signals and laws. The risk of killing a pedestrian increases even with just a small increase in speed. A pedestrian is nearly twice as likely to be killed when hit by a car going 30 m.p.h. compared to one traveling at 25 m.p.h..

Party hosts should have plenty of food on hand to avoid having to leave once the party has started and guests have begun drinking. Hosts should offer non-alcoholic drink choices for their guests and designated drivers.

Never allow a guest to leave your party drunk to drive anywhere.

Making smart choices this Halloween will help ensure that everyone's holiday ends well. For more information on all OTS efforts, visit ots.ca.gov.

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