Safety officials are urging motorists and community members to be careful as Halloween approaches. Caution can be the key to safety as an increasing number of people will be out this weekend with Halloween, including pedestrians walking, parents driving their children, and people attending Halloween parties, said Lieutenant Adam Winters, Kansas Highway Patrol spokesman. It is imperative that safety play a role in the fun during the day and evening’s celebrations.
The average Halloween in Kansas yields over 600 crashes, 168 injured and three fatalities, according to Kansas Department of Transportation traffic crash facts. Fatal injuries from motor vehicle crashes rise nearly 50 percent when Halloween falls on a Thursday, Friday or Saturday, as it does this year.
Nearly 40 percent of fatal crashes on Halloween night involve an impaired driver and one-third of Halloween crash fatalities involve a pedestrian, said Jim Hanni, American Automobile Association Kansas spokesman.
“The combination of drivers under the influence of alcohol or drugs and increased pedestrian traffic on Halloween night is a deadly mix,” Hanni said. “So it’s critical for both motorists and pedestrians to take extra caution and make sure this is a safe and happy Halloween for everyone.”
The patrol and the AAA offer the following safety tips.
• Drivers should slow down and pay close attention to the curbs for pedestrians waiting to cross the street. It is important to remember that children are excited for the evening and possibly not paying attention to traffic. There will also be people in dark costumes, making them less visible.
• Never, for any reason, drive while you are impaired.
• If you happen to see a drunk driver on the road, don’t hesitate to call your local law enforcement. On the highway, you can dial *47 from a cell phone to get to your local Patrol dispatcher.
• Remember to fasten your seatbelt and use the appropriate child restraint devices.
• Plan your travel route carefully. Try to avoid cutting through residential areas that will likely have a large number of trick-or-treaters.
• Consider an overnight stay.
For those hosting parties or those planning to consume alcohol:
• If you are going out to drink and celebrate, designate a sober driver beforehand and give them the keys. If a sober driver is not available, call a taxi, friend, or family member to pick you up.
• If attending a party, see if the option is available to spend the night at the location or stay with a friend who has not been drinking.
• See if your community has a sober rides program, and utilize them if you are out drinking.
• If you are hosting a party, make sure to provide non-alcoholic beverages for those who are not drinking. Ensure everyone has a safe ride home from your festivities, or plan to remain sober so you can drive your party goers home.
• If providing directions to a party, make sure to not route guests through residential areas unnecessarily.
• Take care of designated drivers and offer alternatives to alcohol. Plan to have non-alcoholic drink options available for designated drivers and others. Serve plenty of food so partygoers do not drink on empty stomachs.