Keeping trick-or-treaters street-safe on Halloween night
Taking to the streets in search of candy makes Halloween a favorite holiday for children, but it's also one of the deadliest nights of the years for pedestrians.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration finds Halloween is one of the top three days for pedestrian injuries and fatalities, and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention estimates children are four times more likely to be struck on Halloween by a car or truck than on any other day of the year.
A 2012 study from State Farm Insurance finds an average of 5.5 child pedestrian fatalities each year on Oct. 31, more than double the number for other days. The report also found more than 60 percent of the pedestrian accidents occurred between 5 and 9 p.m., with nearly a quarter of them occurring between 6 and 7 p.m.
Tracy Noble, spokeswoman for AAA Mid-Atlantic noted one of the biggest threats is children darting onto the street, between cars. The report from State Farm found more than 70 percent of accidents occurred away from an intersection or crosswalk.
"There are going to be droves of people out and about walking up and down the street, we need pedestrians and those out trick-or-treating to be very vigilant while out walking," Noble said.
AAA Mid-Atlantic suggests drivers drive at least 5 miles per hour slower than the posted speed limit while in residential neighborhoods and broaden their field of vision to be on the lookout for children in dark costumes or running towards the street.
Parents are encouraged to make their children's costumes as visible as possible, avoiding dark colors, using reflective tape and carrying a flashlight or glow stick. Pedestrians should stay on sidewalks and if none are available-walk on the left side of the road, facing traffic.
Additionally, as Halloween increases in popularity amongst adults, Noble said there are more instances of drunk driving around the holiday. This is especially dangerous because Halloween falls on a Friday this year, meaning young children will be out at the same time as party-going adults.
"People are making it a much larger holiday than it was 10 or 12 years ago," she said. "So there are going to be adult Halloween parties where people will be at house parties and bars and restaurants, and unfortunately some of these people will be impaired."