The scariest thing about Halloween isn’t the costumes, decorations or horror movies.
Indeed, October 31st is the most dangerous night of the year for child pedestrians. However, what many parents may not realize is that teenagers are even more at risk of being in an accident than the younger ones.
“It doesn’t matter how old you are,” said Attorney James Johnson. “You send young people out on our roadways on a very exciting, busy night for trick-or-treating or to attend parties and there are likely to be accidents.”
Out of roughly 115 pedestrians under age 18 who were killed in traffic accidents on Halloween between 1990 and 2010, there were 47 who were age 12 to 18 years old, according to data compiled by State Farm Insurance. Children ages 7 to 12 years old accounted for 41 of these deaths and the 27 of the youngest trick-or-treaters under 6 years old were killed.
Another problem involving teens is they are often the drivers behind the wheel when a fatal pedestrian crash takes place on Halloween. In fact, it turns out that drivers who hit pedestrians are typically under a 15 to 25 years old. Based on the above statistics, 18 of the deaths recorded were caused by young people age 20 and under.
One of the worst incidents in California involved a hit-and-run driver who struck and killed three teenage girls in Santa Ana in 2014. Sisters Lexia and Lexandra Perez, and their friend Andrea Gonzalez, all just 13 years old were struck by a driver at 6:45 p.m. as they walked across the street. The same night, just 30 minutes away from this collision.
John Roger Alcorn, 65, and his son, John Lincoln, 4, were both struck by a vehicle in Irvine. Alcorn died, his son was critically injured.
Despite the risks, Halloween is a huge consumer holiday. Spending on candy, costumes, decorations, parties and more is expected to hit a record $9.1 billion, according to the National Retail Federation.
Halloween Safety TipsTrick-or-treaters of all ages should always use crosswalks and avoid darting across streets in the dark.
Drivers should be aware there are vulnerable pedestrians and leave plenty of time to get to their destinations, drive slowly through neighborhoods and communities with lots of walkers and never drink and drive.
Here are some other safety tips.
- Avoid cell phone distractions
- Drive under 5 mph in neighborhoods
- Wear makeup instead of a mask
- Wear reflective clothing
- Wear light-colored clothing or carry a flashlight
- Make sure a car completely stops before crossing
- Walk in lighted areas if possible
- Walk don't run across streets
- Go out in a group -- safety in numbers