So far this year, 68 pedestrians have died in Tennessee-two more than this time last year-and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate children are four times more likely to be counted in that grim statistic on Halloween than any other day.
To try to prevent as many tragedies as possible, the Tennessee Highway Patrol will conduct saturation patrols, sobriety and seat belt checkpoints, and bar and tavern checks this Halloween.
Four people were killed in traffic accidents during last year’s THP Halloween enforcement period. Three people died during the same time period in 2012.
“We have planned for increased patrols and will conduct a variety of enforcement plans to help ensure a safe Halloween for citizens across the state,” Col. Tracy Trott said in a prepared statement. “Drunk or distracted driving will not be tolerated, and state troopers will aggressively seek out violators. The failure to wear seat belts is also unacceptable-it’s the law.”
Seventy-five percent of last year’s fatalities were unrestrained occupants; one of them was alcohol-related. Troopers issued 240 speeding citations and made 51 arrests on suspicion of drunk driving last year. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, more than half of all crash fatalities on Halloween involved a drunk driver or motorcycle operator from 2008 to 2012. In 2012, 19 percent of fatal pedestrian crashes on Halloween involved drunk drivers.
So far this year, the preliminary number of alcohol-related fatalities has decreased 25 percent.
The THP issued the following tips for Halloween safety:
-Slow down and watch for children on roads, medians and curbs.
-Be extra-alert when pulling in and out of driveways. Be especially alert for children darting between parked vehicles and from behind bushes and shrubs.
-Remember that children will be excited about the holiday and not necessarily paying attention.
-Do not pass vehicles stopped in the roadway.
-Do not wear a Halloween mask while driving.
-Accompany children at all times during trick-or-treat activities.
-Teach children to look left-right-left before crossing a street.
-Remind them to stay on sidewalks and to only cross at corners or crosswalks, remembering to check for turning cars. Also remind them of the importance of walking instead of running.
-Make children use a flashlight or wear reflective strips on clothing to be more visible to motorists.
-Make certain that your child’s mask does not obstruct vision or hearing, and also check that costumes do not impede walking or driving ability.
-Tell them to walk on the side of the street facing traffic when there are no sidewalks.