NASHVILLE, Tenn. - The Tennessee Highway Patrol Colonel Tracy Trott announced Tuesday that State Troopers will plan for increased patrols and conduct a variety of enforcement plans to help ensure a safe Halloween for citizens across the state.
Halloween is consistently one of the top three days for pedestrian injuries and fatalities, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Additionally, the Centers for Disease Control estimate children are four times as likely to be struck by a vehicle on Halloween as any other day. NHTSA also noted that 52 percent of all national fatalities occurring on Halloween night involve a drunk driver.
"We are urging motorists to pay attention to the road and don't drive distracted or impaired. State Troopers will seek out and remove any aggressive or impaired drivers from our roadways to allow for a safe and happy Halloween," Colonel Trott said.
Last year in Tennessee, three people were killed during the Halloween period between 6 p.m. on October 31 through 6 a.m., November 1. Two of those fatalities were alcohol-related. That compares to zero fatalities during the Halloween period in 2011.
As of October 28, there have been 66 pedestrian fatalities in Tennessee in 2013. That's 15 more pedestrian deaths compared to this same time last year. The CDC reported that alcohol involvement – either for the driver or pedestrian – was reported in 47 percent of traffic crashes that resulted in pedestrian fatalities nationwide.
According to the National Center for Statistics and Analysis, 115 child pedestrian fatalities occurred on Halloween over a 21-year period (1990-2010). That is more than twice the average number of 2.6 fatalities on other days of the year. The study also concluded it was particularly dangerous between the hours of 6:00-7:00 p.m.
In 2012, state troopers issued 328 speeding citations and arrested 13 individuals on suspicion of drunk driving on October 31.
This Halloween, the THP will conduct bar and tavern checks, sobriety checkpoints, and seat belt saturations across the state. Below are tips parents, children and motorists should keep in mind before heading this Halloween.
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 may not be 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)
• Require children to wear retro-reflective materials and carry a flashlight at dawn and dusk and in other low-light situations, such as rainy or foggy weather.
• 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.