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Troopers stepping up Halloween patrols

Troopers stepping up Halloween patrols

Posted: Wednesday, October 31, 2012 12:00 am

The Tennessee Highway Patrol will plan for increased visibility and enforcement efforts on Halloween to ensure a safe and happy holiday for all Tennesseans.
Last year in Tennessee, no one was killed on Halloween between midnight, Oct. 31, 2011, through 6 a.m., Nov. 1, 2011. That compares to one person killed in one crash on Halloween during the same time period in 2010.
“There is typically a dramatic increase in pedestrian traffic on Halloween. We want to remind motorists to slow down and watch for children on all roadways.
Halloween should be a time for good family fun. However, children, parents and motorists must remember that safety comes first,” Department of Safety and Homeland Security Commissioner Bill Gibbons said.
According to the National Center for Statistics and Analysis (NCSA), 115 child pedestrian fatalities occurred on Halloween over a 21-year period (1990-2010).  That is an average of 5.5 fatalities each year on October 31. Thirty-two percent of the child pedestrian fatalities occurred with children ages 12-15, while children ranges five through eight accounted for 23 percent of the fatalities.
As of October 26, there have been 51 pedestrian fatalities in Tennessee in 2012.
That’s 18 fewer pedestrian deaths compared to this same time last year. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) found that the number of deaths among young pedestrians (ages 5-14) is four times higher on Halloween evening than any other evening of the year. 
Thirty-eight percent of all young (under age 16) pedestrian fatalities occurred between 3 p.m. and 7 p.m., and alcohol involvement – either for the driver or pedestrian – was reported in 48 percent of traffic crashes that resulted in pedestrian fatalities.
“We will also be conducting increased patrols and using other enforcement techniques to look for aggressive or impaired drivers,” THP Colonel Tracy Trott said.
“Partygoers should plan ahead, designate a sober driver. Don’t make the poor decision to get behind the wheel if you’ve been drinking. Our goal is to keep children safe from those who blatantly disobey the law this Halloween.”
During the 2010 Halloween period, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that 41 percent of all highway fatalities throughout the nation involved a driver or a motorcycle rider with a blood alcohol concentration of .08 grams per deciliter or higher.
Here are some 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

• 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.

Published in The WCP 10.30.12