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Halloween: The Deadliest Night of the Year


During the month of October, many people--adults and children alike--go to haunted houses, watch scary movies, and decorate their homes with ghosts, witches and zombies. Large numbers of people engage in celebrations of the macabre and death, harking back to the origins of the holiday which took its name from All Hallow's Eve, and was followed by All Saint's Day and All Soul's Day on November 1 and 2, respectively. This three-day observance was dedicated to remembering the dead.

How unfortunately appropriate then, that Halloween has become the deadliest day of the year for child pedestrian accidents. That was the conclusion of a study of 4 million records of Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) for the years 1990-2010. The study determined that on average, there were 5-6 fatalities every year on October 31, which is over two times the normal number for other days of the year. The study's findings also included details about the fatalities: (1) the deadliest hour is between 6-7pm when the sun is setting and interferes with drivers' vision; (2) the deadliest location is in the middle of the block; 70% of all accidents occurred away from crosswalks and intersections; (3) the deadliest age is between 12-15 years old; 32% of all victims were in this age group, while 23% of victims were between 5-8 years old; and (4) the deadliest drivers are young drivers between 15-25 years old, an age group that accounts for nearly one-third of all the fatal accidents on Halloween.


Emergency room physicians report that Halloween has replaced New Year's Eve as the most dangerous holiday of the year--and therefore the busiest night of the year. Injuries range from burns (caused by touching candles inside pumpkins, or worse, caused by fires from candles and other decorations); cuts to fingers and hands (during pumpkin carving); and allergic reactions (to candy, food and even face paint).

But many of the worst injuries--and most of the fatalities--are due to motor vehicle accidents, and many of those are due to drunk driving. National Highway Transportation Safety Administration statistics show that for Halloween nights from 2009-2013, 43% of all motor vehicle deaths involved drunk driving. Breaking down the statistics even further reveals that in 2013, 26% of all pedestrian fatalities on Halloween night involved a drunk driver. Bottomline: the drinking that is often part of modern-day Halloween celebration and the driving that occurs after the revelry, combined with the huge festive pedestrian traffic for trick-or-treating that night can lead to tragic consequences.


A few ways to cut down on the risk of motor vehicle pedestrian accidents are: (1) be sure to wear reflective clothing; even and especially if your costume is dark include reflective stripes or socks; (2) stay on sidewalks and only cross streets at crosswalks and intersections; (3) hold on to small children who may break away from the group and/or run into the street; (4) always have a designated driver when going out; and (5) if the designated driver ends up intoxicated, call a friend, a parent, or a ride sharing service.


If you or someone you know has been involved in a motor vehicle accident, either as a pedestrian, or driver/passenger of a motor vehicle, contact Dave Thomas at the Thomas Law Firm for a free evaluation of your legal rights.

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Thomas Law Firm
Located at 945 East Paces Ferry Road, Resurgens Plaza, GA 30326.

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