The end of October brings with it the thrill of Halloween, which is a favorite holiday for many children. Putting aside the religious discussion over its roots, Halloween mixes the enjoyment of dressing up in disguise with the adventure of going door-to-door for a haul of free candy. But nothing can put an end to the fun faster than a personal injury and if last year is any indication, safety should not be overlooked.
Across the country in 2014, at least 15 people were killed and nine were accidentally injured in festivities tied to Halloween. The majority of these incidents involved motor vehicles. For example, a Florida toddler dressed as Captain America was hit and killed by a bus in Lake Wales as he celebrated his first Halloween. Three teen girls trick-or-treating in California were hit and killed by an SUV driver who fled the scene. Three people were hurt and a child died in Vancouver, Washington after an impaired driver’s car jumped a curb and smashed into them. A well-known immigration attorney in Irvine, California was fatally struck by a vehicle while looking at Halloween decorations with his 4-year-old son.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), Halloween is consistently one of the top three days for pedestrian injuries and fatalities. In addition, NHTSA reported that 48 percent of all motor vehicle crash fatalities on Halloween night in 2012 involved a drunk driver, compared with 31 percent on an average day. Allstate Insurance Company examined Florida’s auto insurance claims involving pedestrians over the past few years and found a 23 percent increase during Halloween week versus the week prior.
To help keep your ghosts and witches safe on the ground, there are some basic safety tips they should follow when trick-or-treating that are good to stick to anytime they are pedestrians, such as:
- Cross the street only at crosswalks or traffic signals.
- Hold the hands of younger children when crossing.
- Look both ways before and during crossing. Don’t get distracted by mobile devices.
- Make eye contact with drivers before crossing in front of them.
- Walk, don’t run, across the street.
- Walk on sidewalks or paths, where available. Otherwise, walk facing traffic as far to the left as possible.
- Watch out for vehicles that are turning or backing up.
Adults can do their part by:
- Driving slowly in residential neighborhoods.
- Eliminating distractions while driving (especially no texting).
- Not drinking and driving.
- Not passing other vehicles that have stopped (they could be dropping off children).
- Putting their headlights on earlier in the day to help visibility.
- Turning on hazard lights when stopped.
- Using appropriate car/booster seats when driving trick-or-treaters between neighborhoods, and having them exit and enter on the passenger side, away from traffic.
Remember that neighborhoods that don’t normally have much pedestrian or bicycle traffic may experience an increase in activity on Halloween. Children may be distracted with excitement and move in unpredictable ways. Don’t be part of a real tragedy this Halloween.
Everyone at Stabinski Law wishes our community and Floridians everywhere a safe and magical Halloween. While we hope that the celebration passes without incident, we are here if you need us. We have helped many people sort out their legal rights, responsibilities and remedies. We strive to maintain client satisfaction and a track record of success in every case we handle. If you wish to learn more about how our firm can be of assistance to you, or you want to learn more about this topic, we encourage you to contact us by calling 305-643-3100 or filling out a free case evaluation form.