How to avoid danger this Halloween
Halloween is Saturday, and many kids...and adults...look forward to having fun. But it can be a deadly mismatch between vehicles and pedestrians wearing hard-to-see costumes.
In fact, researcher Bert Sperling analyzed 4 million records between 1990 and 2010 and found Halloween to be the deadliest day of the year for child pedestrians. Sperling, of Sperling's Best Places, collaborated with State Farm Insurance.
State Police Lt. Brian Polite says parents should always accompany young kids and, "make sure that the Halloween costume does have some reflective properties."
While we did not find any specific numbers for New Jersey, there were a total of 115 child pedestrian fatalities over the course of Sperling's 21 years of research. That is an average of 5.5 fatalities per Halloween.
Also of concern this year among safety experts is the so-called, "Invisible Man" costume that has gained a lot of popularity among kids and traction from the internet. According to ABC Radio, the costume is completely black from head to toe, and it covers the entire head, including the face, making visibility from both the trick-or-treater's view and a driver's view, much more challenging.
Sperling says prime time for tragedy on Halloween are the hours between 5 and 8 p.m. Polite said from a driver's perspective, if you're behind the wheel Saturday night it's important to stay focused and aware of your surroundings.
"Make sure that you are not distracted, that you are totally keeping your eye and attention on the road. Make sure that your attention is solely on driving," he said.
Polite said it means putting cell phones down and not texting while driving, "because there is going to be children who are going to be crossing the streets. Mistakes do happen, where a kid may walk out in the middle of the street."
The most at-risk age for pedestrian fatalities among trick-or-treaters are those between 12 and 15 years old.
Joe Cutter is the afternoon news anchor for New Jersey 101.5.