Avoid Real-Life Horrors This Halloween

Pedestrian and driving tips for a spook-tacular Halloween

SACRAMENTO, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–#Halloween–Halloween is the celebration of all things scary. For children, this
means dressing up as their favorite characters and enjoying tricks and
treats. For adults, the celebration often involves alcohol.
Unfortunately, Halloween is also known for having the highest number of
child-pedestrian deaths all year and ranks among the worst for
holiday-related DUI crashes and deaths. The California Office of Traffic
Safety (OTS) and California Highway Patrol (CHP) are providing tips to
trick-or-treaters, parents, and partygoers to keep everyone safe this
Halloween.

“Halloween should be a time of fun for kids and adults alike,” said OTS
Director Rhonda Craft. “Some planning ahead, plus extra caution that
night, can keep everyone safe on our streets this year.”

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, on
Halloween night between 2009 and 2013, 119 people were killed by drunk
driving, and 43 percent of all motor vehicle deaths involved drunk
driving. The number of deaths among pedestrians ages 5 to 14 is four
times higher between 4 and 10 p.m. on Halloween than on any other
evening of the year. In 2013, 26 percent of all pedestrian fatalities on
Halloween night involved a drunk driver.

“With an increase in the number of children and adults out on Halloween,
motorists play a critical role in helping to keep them safe,” said CHP
Commissioner Joe Farrow. “As a driver, it is important to abide by the
rules of the road and remain alert, sober, and free from distraction.”

Trick-or-treaters are often too excited and forget about safety, so
motorists and parents must be even more aware. Keep these helpful tips
in mind when out and about:

  • Plan your route ahead of time on well-lit streets. Avoid busy streets.
  • Choose a costume that makes it easy to walk, see and be seen. Light
    color costumes are best.
  • Select costumes, masks, wigs, or beards made of flame-retardant
    materials (check the labels). Avoid flimsy, lightweight fabrics and
    costumes with billowing skirts or loose baggy sleeves.
  • A mask may keep kids from seeing well, so make sure they take it off
    before crossing the street. Consider using makeup instead of a mask
    for added safety.
  • It is best to trick-or-treat when it is still light outside, but carry
    a flashlight so trick-or-treaters can see and drivers can see them.
  • Use retro-reflective tape on costumes. Be creative in applying it to
    make it fun to be seen.

Adults often party on Halloween night, which can lead to drunk and
drugged driving, and even dangers fueled by costumes and the excitement
of the night. Motorists, partygoers, and hosts should keep these tips in
mind:

  • Avoid driving through residential areas where trick-or-treaters are
    likely to be present.
  • This is a night to slow down, be extra cautious, and obey all traffic
    signs and signals. The risk of killing a pedestrian increases with
    just small increases in speed. A pedestrian is nearly twice as likely
    to be killed if hit by a car going 30 mph compared to 25 mph.
  • Watch for children walking on roadways, medians, and curbs, and in
    dark costumes – they will be harder to see at night. Also, be aware
    that trick-or-treaters may not be paying attention to traffic and may
    run out mid-block or between parked cars. Motorists should scan far
    ahead when driving in residential areas, watch for children and
    cautiously monitor their actions. Turn on your headlights to make
    yourself more visible – even in daylight.
  • Plan ahead if you will be drinking. Designate a sober driver. If you
    are already out and have had too much to drink, call a taxi, friend,
    or family member to drive you home.
  • Party hosts should have plenty of food on hand for everyone throughout
    the evening and several non-alcoholic drink choices for the designated
    drivers. Do not allow anyone to leave if you have any doubts about
    their ability to drive.
  • If you are going out on the town, be sure to download the DDVIP mobile
    app to locate bars, clubs, and restaurants near you that offer free
    non-alcoholic beverages and additional perks for designated drivers.
    The free app is available in both iTunes and Google Play stores.

The California Office of Traffic Safety and the California Highway
Patrol want you to have a fun and safe Halloween. To keep up with the
latest traffic safety information, be sure to follow us on Twitter at
@OTS_CA and @CHP_HQ or “Like” us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/CaliforniaOTS
or www.facebook.com/chp.
For more information on all OTS efforts, visit www.OTS.ca.gov.

Contacts

The California Office of Traffic Safety
Chris Cochran, 916-509-3063
chris.cochran@ots.ca.gov