ODOT Halloween Study warns of Goblins, Ghouls and Car Crashes

New safety analysis shows rise in risk of children being struck by cars while Trick-or Treating

COLUMBUS (Tuesday, October 26, 2010) With the Halloween holiday creeping up fast, a new safety analysis by the Ohio Department of Transportation may send chills down the backs of both parents and drivers alike: the number of car crashes involving pedestrians routinely doubles in the days leading up to October 31st.

Even more scary, the ODOT safety study reveals that most at risk are children taking part in Trick-or-Treat.

The new five-year ODOT safety analysis reviewed crash data for the last seven days of October, when communities across the state celebrate Halloween with children trick-or-treating from house to house.

The percentage of pedestrian-vehicle crashes nearly double between the hours of 6:00pm and 7:00pm, from 7 percent to almost 14 percent.

ODOT’s safety experts say the increase is due to a combination of factors. First is the time of season: research shows that vision and depth perception are severely limited during those hours when day turns to night.

The second contributing factor is the large concentration of children walking, who often repeatedly cross the road at locations other than crosswalks or at intersections.

ODOT is sharing this Halloween warning with schools across the state, as part of the department’s widely-successful Safe Routes to Schools program.

Through this federally-funded program, ODOT has invested more than $21 million to construct safer school crossing signals and sidewalks, provide new educational materials, add police enforcement in school zones, and create school travel plans to encourage more students to consider walking and biking.

At several elementary schools across the state, ODOT will be offering special reflective trick-or-treat bags that remind students to "Take Care, Be Aware" as they trick-or-treat this year. More than 12,000 of these specially-designed bags are being distributed.

ODOT’s safety experts offer these tips to make your trick-or-treat night safer:

Safety Tips for Trick-or-Treaters:

  1. Stay on the sidewalk
  2. Look both ways before you cross the street AND only cross the street at intersections
  3. Remember to trick-or-treat in groups and help each other follow pedestrian safety laws
  4. Make sure your costumes are visible to not only other trick-or-treaters but also visible to motorists
  5. Carry a flashlight

Safety Tips for Drivers:

  1. Pedestrians have the right of way…ALWAYS
  2. Drive with headlights on
  3. Reduce speed
  4. Be especially careful at intersections
  5. Avoid distractions like cell phones