Children are 10 times more likely to be killed by a car on Halloween compared to any other day during the year, according to a new study by researchers at the University of British Columbia. The Daily Mail reports that researchers found children between the ages of 4 and 8 are 10 times more likely to be hit by a vehicle on Halloween, and the most dangerous times for people to be struck were between 5 and 8 pm when most trick-or-treaters are out and about. Researchers also found that the risk of pedestrian accident fatalities spiked by 43 percent on Halloween compared to a week earlier or a week later.
Dangerous Night for Pedestrians
For the study, the team gathered data on all fatal traffic crashes in the United States between 1975 and 2016 from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). First, they looked at the number of recorded pedestrian deaths between 5 p.m. and midnight on Halloween. Then, they compared those numbers to those recorded during the same hours one week before and one week after Halloween. The analysis also found that an average of 49 child pedestrians are struck by vehicles on Halloween, nearly twice the average number compared to the to weeks before and after.
Researchers say it is important for pedestrian safety to be improved, particularly on Halloween. Some of the measures they suggest include vehicle speed control, restricting traffic in residential areas and incorporating reflective patches in clothes people wear especially as they walk after dark. Data also shows alcohol plays a part in fatal accidents on Halloween. Between 2012 and 2016, 44 percent of all people killed in car accidents on Halloween night where involved in accidents involving a DUI driver. Also, 14 percent of pedestrian fatalities on Halloween night involved a drunk driver.
Tips for a Safe Halloween
If you are planning to send your children trick-or-treating on Halloween night, here are a few safety tips:
- Cross the street at corners using traffic signals and crosswalks. Put electronic devices away and walk, don’t run. Teach children to make eye contact with drivers before crossing the street. Watch for cars that are turning or backing up.
- Children under 12 should not be alone at night without adult supervision. Older kids should also be taught to stick to familiar areas that are well-lit or trick-or-treat in groups.
- Decorate costumes and bags with reflective tape and stickers. Choose face paint and makeup instead of masks, which can obstruct a child’s vision. Have children carry glow sticks and flashlights to help them see and be seen by motorists.
- Motorists should stay extra alert on Halloween night, particularly in residential neighborhoods where kids might be trick-or-treating. Be careful when you enter or exit driveways or alleyways. Drive slowly. Put away your devices, focus on the road, and never drive if you’ve been drinking.
All of us at Bisnar Chase hope you have a safe, happy and fun Halloween night!