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The Real Scare on Halloween

THE REAL SCARE ON HALLOWEEN

No matter what age you are or where you live, celebrating Halloween can be fun. Decorations, costumes, parties…and of course, treats. But Halloween can also be dangerous, and not necessarily because of tampered-with candy or scary strangers that can cause harm. Although people should be wary of unwrapped candy and strangers, threats posed by these are more urban legend than actual fact. The biggest risk to people 21 and under on Halloween is being killed in a motor vehicle accident. In fact, children are twice as likely to be killed in a motor vehicle accident on Halloween as on other days of the year. The big question is why; why do motor vehicle fatalities spike on Halloween?

Statistics show several reasons for the sharp increase in car crashes on Halloween. According to National Highway Transportation Safety Administration data, between 2009-2013, 43% of all motor vehicle deaths on Halloween were the result of drunken driver-related crashes; 26% of pedestrian fatalities on Halloween involved drunken drivers in 2013. Obviously, drinking, driving and Halloween is a particularly deadly mix.

Another reason for such high motor vehicle fatalities on Halloween is that the number of pedestrians out and about increases exponentially—40 million children trick-or-treat annually—and many of the fatalities involve these pedestrians. Accident reports show that most pedestrians involved in crashes are being struck in the middle of streets, not in crosswalks or intersections. The excitement of trick-or-treating and the tendency of children to run into the street rather than crossing at crosswalks and intersections create a dangerous situation, especially at twilight/dusk, when many communities hold their celebrations.

SAFETY TIPS

In addition to making sure that children stay on sidewalks and cross streets only at crosswalks and intersections, there are a number of things that parents and adults can do to make Halloween a safe holiday and fun for all those who choose to celebrate it:

  1. Be sure that costumes are made of flame-retardant material;
  2. Plan your trick-or-treating route ahead of time;
  3. Make sure that a responsible adult accompanies children;
  4. Make sure that costumes and/or trick-or-treat bags have reflective tape;
  5. Make sure props and accessories (e.g. swords, magic wands) are short, soft and flexible.

Excitement about Halloween begins before the big day, so drivers: beware. Turn your headlights on early the week leading up to October 31. Be extra cautious pulling into and out of your driveway and approaching intersections. Do not be distracted by devices! Kids will be tempted to try out their costumes, see how “scary” they can be, and play hide and seek with their friends in their characters. This all creates a lot of darting in and out of yards—and streets—while children are often in ill-fitting attire that may or may not have adequate visibility. So drive slowly, be hyper-observant, and expect the unexpected pedestrian.

CONTACT YOUR ATTORNEY

If you or a loved one has been injured in a motor vehicle accident, call Dave Thomas at The Thomas Law Firm for a free consultation regarding 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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