The Real Scare This Halloween: Trick-or-Treating-Related Car Accidents
While ghosts, goblins, and ghouls, may abound this Halloween, in reality, the most frightening thing about this holiday may come from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) – that being their chilling statistics on Halloween-related car accidents.
While the celebration of Halloween is inherently gruesome, in truth, it is also a “particularly deadly night due to drunk drivers,” the NHTSA reports as part of its “Buzzed Driving is Drunk Driving” awareness campaign.
For example, the agency reports that, “In 2015, over half (52%) of all highway fatalities across the nation on Halloween night involved a driver or a motorcycle rider with a BAC of .08 or higher,” according to the federal traffic safety agency, and that between 2009 and 2013, an estimated 43 percent of all people killed in motor vehicle crashes on Halloween night were in crashes involving a drunk driver. In all, 119 people died in Halloween auto accidents during that five-year period.
Compounding this fear further is the fact that on Halloween, the most susceptible victims of drunk drivers are children. Children who are out trick-or-treating – and the parents accompanying them – face the highest risk of being struck by an alcohol-impaired driver.
Additionally, while the NHTSA reports that 19% of fatal pedestrian crashes on Halloween night 2009 and 2013 involved drunk drivers, those numbers count only drunk driving accidents; they do not include distracted driving accidents – such as those that involving texting and driving – which the NHTSA calls “one of the fastest growing safety issues on the roads today.” Speeding and other forms of careless and reckless driving also contribute to injuries and deaths in accidents on Halloween.
Regardless of the cause, however, children who are out trick-or-treating or going to Halloween parties on Halloween are more than twice as likely to be hit by a car and killed than on any other day of the year, and this is a statistic that should frighten all of us.
It should also make us all want to take pause, to stop and think, and to take any steps necessary to keep these kinds of accidents from happening if we should be driving this Halloween.
At Drinkwater & Goldstein, LLP we want to help. While usually we assist New Jersey families after an accident, here, keeping our children safe this time of year is the number one priority. Therefore, in an effort to help avoid accidents, if you plan to go out on Halloween, with or without children, please take heed of the seven safety tips we offer below:
1. If you are driving on Halloween, slow down.
Watch for children, especially between 5:30 and 9:30 p.m., which are the most common trick–or-treat hours in New Jersey. Particularly in housing developments and other residential areas and school zones, actively try to spot children and other pedestrians before it’s too late.
Be extra cautious at intersections and when coming upon side streets or rounding curves. If possible, avoid residential areas such as those you may normally drive through as shortcuts.
2. Don’t drink and drive.
This tip, as with most of these tips, extends beyond just Halloween. If you have been drinking, do not get behind the wheel. If you plan to drink at a Halloween party, make arrangements for a ride home with a non-drinking driver or contact a taxi. Car services like Uber or Lyft are increasingly popular and available in most areas. If you need help getting a ride, ask your host or a waitress, waiter or bartender. They should be happy to help.
3. Stay alert when driving.
Cell phones should be put away, as should other distractions while behind the wheel. You need to stay focused on your surroundings – not looking down at a cell phone screen. Children, especially excited children who are out trick-or-treating, can dart out into traffic in a split second. Adults who have been partying can also be out in the streets when and where they shouldn’t be.
4. Prepare your trick-or-treaters.
If you are supervising children, before heading out, talk to them about walking instead of running. You should also discuss the importance of crossing the street at corners and staying with the group. Additionally, plan your route, choosing well-lit streets with sidewalks, if possible. If you are driving trick-or-treaters between neighborhoods, make sure they buckle up, or make sure that you use appropriate car seats. Never allow your children to use cell phones or other electronic devices while walking. Make sure they are watching what they and others are doing.
5. Be visible to drivers.
If you are accompanying trick-or-treaters or otherwise walking on Halloween night, try to stand out. Trick-or-treaters should travel as a group. Walk on sidewalks or paths. If there are no sidewalks, walk facing traffic as far to the left as possible. Wear clothing or costumes that are brightly colored or made of light-reflective materials. If necessary, add light-reflective tape to costumes and trick-or-treat bags. Carry a flashlight or glow stick.
6. Make your home safe for visitors.
If you are welcoming trick-or-treaters or party guests on Halloween, turn on your porch lights and any other outdoor lights you have. Check to make sure everything is working. Make sure walkways and stairs at your home are well-lit and free of obstacles that could cause people to slip or trip and fall. Instead of candles, use UL-approved electric or battery-operated lights or glow sticks for illuminated decorations such as jack-o-lanterns.
Make sure any cords are out of walking paths.
7. Look after your party guests.
Pedestrians as well as drivers who have had too much to drink are a danger to themselves and others. If you serve alcohol to guests, serve substantial food and non-alcoholic drinks as well. If a guest has had too much to drink, do not let the guest drive or leave alone. Find the person a ride or offer a bed or couch overnight.
Our Experienced New Jersey Personal Injury Lawyers Can Help You
The attorneys of Drinkwater & Goldstein, LLP, wish you and your children a happy Halloween.
We want your Halloween to be accident-free.
If an accident does occur, and you or a loved one is seriously injured, you have rights. You may be able to recover compensation for any medical expenses, property damage, pain and suffering and other costs associated with your accident and injuries.
If you are injured in an accident this Halloween that was someone else’s fault, we can help. Call us at (856) 753-5131 or contact us online to schedule a free and confidential consultation about the legal options available to you.
Content of this article is not the original product of Drinkwater & Goldstein, LLP. Reposted from its original source, here: http://www.dsslaw.com/blog/2016/10/halloween-scares-come-from-negligent-drivers-and-car-accidents/