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Studies Show Pedestrian Fatalities Increase on Halloween

Spooky season is in full swing, and we love Halloween and the associated activities! That said, we should all take extra precautions to be safe on October 31st, especially if you’re the caretaker for small trick-or-treating children. While planning out costumes and trick-or-treat routes, sadly, what many do not consider is genuinely horrifying: the significant increase in pedestrian fatalities on Halloween night. Below are some chilling statistics as well as Halloween pedestrian safety tips to follow to protect yourself and your family this holiday season.

The JAMA Pediatrics Study

A 2019 study conducted by JAMA Pediatrics used 42 years (1975 to 2016) worth of data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System to determine if Halloween truly has a greater risk to the safety of pedestrians than your average Autumnal evening. 

Before diving into the data, the study acknowledged the factors that may contribute to the risk to pedestrians on Halloween night:

  • Most Halloween festivities begin at dusk.
  • Adults and children alike may be wearing masks that restrict their peripheral vision.
  • Halloween costumes may be darker colors or are not designed to be reflexive, therefore limiting visibility to drivers.
  • Everyday street-crossing safety is often ignored in the excitement of the evening.
  • Some partygoers or supervising adults may be impaired by alcohol. 

Possible mitigating factors were also discussed:

  • Broad public awareness of the holiday.
  • Parental supervision of younger children.
  • “Improved safety as pedestrian numbers are greater” – there is safety in numbers.

Ultimately, the study concluded that despite mitigating factors, Halloween exposes gaps in public safety in existing traffic safety infrastructure, like a lack of sidewalks in some areas, unsafe street crossing, and poor traffic control, like excessive speeding. The reported relative risk of pedestrian fatality is 43% higher on October 31st compared to the control evenings and the average Halloween results in 4 additional to the average pedestrian deaths. Note that the control evenings were one week earlier or one week later in the same span of four decades, meaning that dusk fell at the same time of day as Halloween to deliver as comparatively accurate data as possible. 

The authors analyzed pedestrian fatalities between 5 p.m. and 11:59 p.m. on Halloween compared to control evenings one week earlier and one week later, from 1975 to 2016. 

Here are the Halloween pedestrian accident statistics:

The entire study interval included 1,580,608 fatal traffic crashes involving 2,333,302 drivers and 268,468 pedestrians. A total of 608 pedestrian fatalities occurred on the 42 Halloween evenings, whereas 851 pedestrian fatalities occurred on the 84 control evenings. 

Safety Tips for a Fun Halloween

73.1 million children across the United States don costumes and go trick-or-treating on October 31st, according to the US Census Bureau. It’s a fun American tradition well-loved by young and old here in Indiana. Rather than not participate, we encourage pedestrians and driving Hoosiers to stay safe by following some helpful tips compiled below.

Halloween Pedestrian Safety Tips

These are especially important for parents of young children who are unaware of the dangers Halloween can bring!

  • Talk to your children in advance about holding hands or getting permission to cross the street first.
  • Ensure that children wearing masks as part of their costumes can still see clearly.
  • Trick-or-treat in groups. This makes you more visible to motorists.
  • Have a flashlight or put yourself and your group in light or reflective clothing to be more visible to traffic. Carrying a glow stick or a reflective armband could also count!

Halloween Safety Tips for Motorists

  • Be extra watchful for pedestrians darting out into traffic from unusual places. Most pedestrian fatalities happen in the middle of the block, where drivers are not expecting people to cross.
  • Drive below the speed limit in residential areas to give yourself a greater reaction time to brake for children running across the street without looking, as is unfortunately very common during the excitement of trick-or-treating.
  • Don’t drink and drive ever, but especially on Halloween. Halloween calls for especially fast reaction times due to the increase in pedestrian activity. 

Even if you follow the Halloween pedestrian safety tips, Halloween revelers can still fall victim to the tragic probability of a traffic accident on October 31st. If you or your child have been involved in, injured, or killed in a pedestrian or car accident in Indiana, the experienced personal injury attorneys at Crossen Law Firm can help you navigate the process of filing your claim.

We will fight for the compensation you or your family deserve. Our pedestrian accident attorneys have the skills and knowledge of Indiana traffic laws necessary to negotiate with insurance companies to obtain maximum compensation effectively.

Get started on your case today by scheduling a free consultation about your situation. Call 317-401-8626 or contact us online.