Beware of Halloween Dangers to Drivers and Pedestrians
One year after government officials cancelled public Halloween festivities due to the severity of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, many of the holiday’s enthusiasts are eager to get back out again this year to celebrate in a healthy and safe way. Donning costumes, eating candy, and enjoying seasonal adult beverages are just some of the activities that mark this fun weekend. Halloween holds a treat for people of all ages.
Now that a vaccine is available, you are likely to encounter far more trick-or-treaters and partygoers as you head out to your own gathering. Unfortunately, Halloween weekend can be one of the most dangerous times of the year for both drivers and pedestrians. With more people out and about, there is an increased risk of injury due to others not being careful, but you can take precautions to avoid harm.
The Sobering Reality About Drunk Drivers on Halloween Night
According to stats from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, drunk driving on Halloween night poses a deadly risk to drivers, passengers, and pedestrians alike. Here is some of what has happened in recent years:
- Between 2015 and 2019, some of the deadliest hours to drive were between 6:00 PM on Halloween night and 5:59 AM the next morning.
- 41% of those killed during this period were involved in traffic collisions that involved at least one drunk driver.
- In 2019, adults between the ages of 21-34 accounted for a majority of alcohol-related fatalities on the road.
Considering the heightened risks of driving during this time becomes even more alarming when factoring in injury rates for teen drivers traveling to Halloween-themed events. In light of this, it is important for parents to address safe driving practices with their children. As recently as 2017, drivers under the age of 21 accounted for the highest amount of fatalities on Halloween night, according to data compiled by the Massachusetts Department of Transportation.
The agency highlighted some of the greatest dangers for teen drivers, which include:
- Underage drinking
- Disregard for seatbelt safety
- Driving while distracted or tired
- Going over the speed limit
- Overloading a vehicle with passengers
Shining the Light on Pedestrian Fatalities
Irresponsible drivers who may be out in more numbers this year can pose serious harm to pedestrians back on the streets; in fact, the concern about pedestrian safety during this time of year has been well-documented by the National Institutes of Health.
In a study covering over 40 years of data, they found that the relative risk of a pedestrian being killed on Halloween night was 43% higher than the week before and after the holiday. According to observations, over 600 pedestrians lost their lives—and these deaths occurred between the hours of 5:00 PM and 11:59 PM on October 31. The primary group affected by an increase in pedestrian deaths on Halloween were children ages 4-8 years old.
The research also pointed out that most of the accidents that killed child pedestrians on Halloween night took place in residential neighborhoods. What may have contributed to endangering pedestrians as a whole included: Halloween-activities taking place at night, masks limiting the ability to be observant of one’s surroundings, darker costumes that are not easy to spot in the later hours, unsafe street crossing practices, and alcohol use among pedestrians.
A Roadmap for a Safe Night
Both drivers and pedestrians should use extra caution when going out for Halloween night. The chance of a serious injury is a reality because not everyone will practice safety, but it is possible to plan ahead and minimize the likelihood of getting hurt and hurting others. Recommendations from the NHTSA for both those behind the wheel and pedestrians include:
- Driving slowly and carefully, being observant for trick-or-treater foot traffic in both expected and unexpected areas
- Paying attention on the road at all times and not being distracted by a mobile phone
- Reporting suspected drunk drivers to law enforcement
- Walking on available sidewalks and utilizing crosswalks
- Travelling by foot with a friend and not being alone
The Boston Fire Department has additional tips for pedestrians with kids in mind, and some of them include:
- Pairing smaller children with adults and trick-or-treating together at an earlier hour
- Reviewing safety tips with older children
- Avoiding criss-crossing streets to get to houses, covering only one sidewalk at a time
- Wearing brightly colored costumes or reflective tape on darker costumes
- Ensuring that costumes are flame-retardant, that masks do not impair vision, and that accessories like capes do not cause falls
- Being aware of neighborhoods where kids will be spending their time
Getting Help After a Halloween Injury
Being injured by someone who did not account for safety and local traffic laws should not happen. The injuries you experience can last beyond Halloween, a day that is supposed to be safe and fun for you, your family, and friends. If you or a loved one have been struck by a car in the Boston area, you have rights and can possibly seek multiple forms of compensation. This may include current and future medical bills, permanent injury or disability, lost wages and future lost wages, scarring and disfigurement, as well as pain and suffering.
You need a Boston pedestrian accident attorney who will look further into your injuries and the circumstances that led to them, whether the cause is a driver under the influence alcohol or another type of car accident. Contact us at (617) 870-0907 today for a free consultation and to learn more about your legal options.