The height of autumn is beloved by children and adults alike. Costume parties, seasonal treats, scary movies, and brilliantly colored foliage make mid-autumn a favored season for millions of people. But with Halloween fast approaching, Malloy Law would like to take this opportunity to draw attention to a troubling and uncomfortable fact about this holiday. Did you know that Halloween is the deadliest day of the year for pedestrians involved in auto accidents? A series of studies is seeking to call attention to this fact. We’d like to aid them in spreading awareness. Read on for deeper analysis, and Halloween safety tips for keeping the youngest and most vulnerable members of our community safe this Halloween night.
Pedestrian fatalities are 43% higher on Halloween. This startling figure comes courtesy of a 2019 study analyzing data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The study drew upon an extensive data set, stretching between 1975 and 2016. It found a total of 608 pedestrian fatalities on the 42 Halloween evenings analyzed. Children between 4 and 8 years old are statistically under the most risk, with the risk highest around 6 PM in residential neighborhoods.
There are several factors that lead to this dramatic increase. To begin with, there is the simple fact of volume. Far more children are on the streets on Halloween than any other night of the year. Trick-or-treaters can be seen lining the sidewalks all over the country. More pedestrians lead to more tragic accidents. There’s also the fact that these children will be in costume, many of which are made of dark fabrics that may obscure them to motorists. Beyond this, there’s the excitement of the holiday and energy provided by sugary candy, which may drive young people to behave in an unsafe manner around busy streets. Moreover, it must also be pointed out that even while Halloween is a statistical outlier, holidays in general are more hazardous for pedestrians generally.
In conclusion, no one point tells the full story on its own. Parents and chaperones of trick-or-treaters should take steps to mitigate risks and ensure a happy holiday for all.
So how best to go about keeping yourself and your community safe on Halloween? Well, a little visibility goes a long way. Incorporating bright colors or reflective materials into your costume will make you much more visible to passing motorists. Flashlights are also recommended. This will not only make you more visible to cars, but also give you a better view of uneven terrain that could be a trip and fall hazard. Indeed, staying in well-lit areas in general is a good way to stay safe. Travelling in larger groups also provides safety in numbers, but keep in mind that if your group includes a large number of small children, a higher number of chaperones may be necessary to keep track of them.
More than anything, you should keep in mind that Halloween does not offer a holiday from the usual rules of traffic safety. Always cross at a crosswalk, look both ways, and never walk against the light or walk sign. We recommend as well that pedestrians make eye contact with drivers at intersections. This will ensure that they’re aware of your presence before crossing the street.
Whether we fear fables of witches and specters, movie monsters and madmen, or sensationalized urban legends about drugs or razor blades in candy, it’s easy to get scared on Halloween. But so often we focus on fictional or exaggerated boogeymen that we ignore the very real threats to our safety. There’s nothing fantastical about car accidents involving pedestrians. They happen all year round, and when they do happen, a personal injury attorney can help. Here at Malloy Law, we pride ourselves on strong advocacy for the injured. We can seek the compensation you are entitled to while you focus on your recovery. We hope you have a happy and safe Halloween.