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A safe Halloween

Halloween night is supposed to be one of the best nights of the year for children. Costumes and candy, oh my!

But according to the National Center for Statistics and Analysis, this night is also one of the deadliest nights of the year — beyond even New Year’s Eve — because of drunken drivers. During 2011, for instance, more than half of all highway fatalities around the nation on Halloween night involved a motorist with a blood-alcohol content of .08 or higher.

“With irresponsible celebrating comes unsafe driving behaviors, making Halloween night a dangerous time to be on the roads for both drivers and pedestrians,” said Casey Taylor, program development coordinator for Youth of Virginia Speak Out About Traffic Safety, which has been conducting an awareness campaign in October about the dangers of this holiday.

The organization offers some good tips to help keep youth safe while they’re out trick or treating tonight.

For drivers:

  • Avoid driving during “Halloween Rush Hour” from 5:30 to 9 p.m., when children are trick–or-treating.
  • Drive below the speed limit in residential neighborhoods, and use alternate routes when possible.
  • Scan ahead for trick-or-treaters and yield to pedestrians.
  • Use caution around stopped vehicles in neighborhoods and proceed slowly.
  • Drive distraction-free.
  • Celebrate responsibly, and resist any peer pressure to celebrate Halloween with alcohol and/or drugs or to drive while impaired.
  • Do not ride with any drivers who may have used alcohol and/or drugs.
  • Be on the alert for drivers who could be under the influence of something other than sweets.

And for trick-or-treaters:

  • Avoid distractions and leave electronic devices at home while walking or biking.
  • Wear reflective clothing.
  • Carry a flashlight or glow stick.
  • Walk on sidewalks when possible.
  • Travel in pairs or groups and let parents know where you are going.
  • Younger students should always trick or treat with a parent or adult supervision.
  • Never approach a stranger’s car.
  • Stay alert.

Let’s keep our community’s children safe this year.