Scary Fact: Halloween Drunk Driving Crashes Are Eerily Common
Halloween’s supposed to be all about scary-good fun, but research shows that All Hallow’s Eve may be deadlier than you realize. That’s because Halloween drunk driving remains a major problem.
For some, this night is more about booze than boos. Approximately 1.1 million drivers were arrested for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol during the entirety of 2015. But according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), a staggering 44% of those killed in motor vehicle crashes on the night of October 31 between 2012 and 2016 involved drunk drivers. Around 46% of those fatal crashes involved people between the ages of 21 to 34 — meaning many of these drivers are of legal drinking age but still choose to drive drunk.
However, it’s not only adults who are at risk. Halloween is one of the top three days for pedestrian injuries and deaths, with 14% of all Halloween pedestrian fatalities between 2012 and 2016 involving drunk drivers. That means that young children and teens might not be as safe as you’d assume, even if they remain in their own residential neighborhoods. To keep your little ghosts and princesses safe this Halloween, practice extra caution around major roads and intersections, especially as the sun goes down!
If you’re out trick-or-treating or engaging in other Halloween festivities, it’s important to keep your wits about you. Otherwise, you could easily become one of the 3% of patients who needs to be diverted to an emergency department if you become injured. Make sure that you are visible to oncoming cars by wearing bright colors and reflective gear. Always carry flashlights and stay away from the road when walking. Use designated sidewalks and crosswalks when available; otherwise, walk facing traffic and keep your distance. Do not assume that motorists can see you or will stop for you. Do not take unnecessary risks of any kind and always make a plan in advance for getting home.
And if you plan on driving or want to celebrate Halloween with a drink, be prepared. Drivers should avoid driving during trick-or-treating hours, obey all posted street signs, and lower their speeds in residential neighborhoods and poorly lit areas. Do not operate handheld electronic devices while driving and keep distractions to a minimum. Designate a sober driver for the evening and do not let friends or family members drive while intoxicated. Lyft has designated a SoberRide program in select cities that provides free rides to people over the age of 21 to reduce the likelihood of drunk driving accidents. Take advantage of such programs in your area or square away some funds to hail your ride if these programs are not available to you.
If you’re aware of the risks and follow these tips, you should be able to enjoy a fun and safe Halloween night — with no tricks, just treats.