NASHVILLE --- This Friday evening, the streets will be literally swarming with children, and the Tennessee Highway Patrol is reminding drivers to do their part to make sure they get their treats home safely. For many families, Halloween is a fun-filled evening of trick-or-treating, but it can quickly turn into a real night of horror if someone is hurt.
“Halloween is a fun night for both children and adults, but I simply want to remind parents, drivers and children that it is important to be safe,” said Department of Safety Commissioner Dave Mitchell. “Careless or impaired drivers can quickly turn the evening into a nightmare.”
Halloween is one of the most dangerous holidays on the road due to alcohol-related crashes by drivers who make the mistake of drinking and driving after parties and festivities. Two-thirds of all highway fatalities at Halloween involve alcohol. Last year in Tennessee, three people were killed in crashes on Halloween between 12:00 a.m., October 31, 2007, through 6:00 a.m., November 1, 2007. One of those crashes involved alcohol.
“With Halloween falling on a Friday this year, we know a lot of people will be out celebrating,” stated THP Colonel Mike Walker. “We want everyone to have a good time, but be smart about it. Designate a driver. This is your warning, because if you drink and drive, you will go to jail.”
Parents and children have a responsibility to be safe this Halloween too. The Centers for Disease Control found that the number of deaths among young pedestrians (ages 5-14) is four times higher on Halloween evening than any other evening of the year. The United States Department of Transportation reports that fatal collisions between motor vehicles and young pedestrians (under the age of 15) happen most frequently between 4:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m., prime trick-or-treating time.
Below are tips parents, children and motorists should keep in mind before heading out the door this Halloween.
The Tennessee Department of Safety’s mission is (www.tennessee.gov/safety) to ensure the safety and general welfare of the public. The department encompasses the Tennessee Highway Patrol, Office of Homeland Security and Driver License Services. General areas of responsibility include law enforcement, safety education, motorist services and terrorism prevention.
HALLOWEEN SAFETY TIPS
Tips for Motorists
• Slow down. Watch for children walking on roads, medians and curbs.
• Be extra alert when pulling in and out of driveways.
• Be especially alert for children darting out from between parked vehicles and from behind bushes and shrubs. They’re excited – and they are not paying attention.
• Do not pass other vehicles that have stopped in the roadway. They could be dropping off children.
• If you are driving to a Halloween Party, put your mask on after you park the car.
• Never drink and drive – tonight or any night. If you are partying, designate a driver.
Tips for Parents
• Adults should accompany children at all times and supervise their "trick or treat" activities.
• Teach children to "stop, look left-right-left, and listen" before they cross the street.
• Instruct children to stay on sidewalks and to cross only at corners or crosswalks.
• Use a flashlight and wear retro-reflective strips or patches on your clothing or costume to be more visible to motorists.
• Be certain that the mask does not obstruct vision or hearing.
• Ensure that costumes do not impede walking or driving ability.
Tips for Pedestrians
(children and adults)
• Before crossing a street, stop at the curb or edge of the road and look left, right and left again to be sure no cars are coming. Continue to check for traffic while on the street.
• Walk – never run – from house to house or across the road.
• Cross the street only at intersections and crosswalks.
• When crossing at an intersection with a traffic light, be sure to watch for turning cars. Obey all pedestrian signals.
• Walk on sidewalks whenever possible. If there are no sidewalks, walk on the left side of the street facing traffic.