Halloween is a fun night of dressing up the kids and taking them out trick-or-treating. However, it is important to recognize that a lot of other things are happening that night as well. Drunk drivers coming home from parties, people playing pranks, and the general chaos of more pedestrians on the street than usual.
Studies show that children are three times as likely to be hit by a car on Halloween night. As alarming as this figure is, parents can take steps to help trick-or-treating children avoid the dangers of cars.
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Why Are Kids More Vulnerable to Being Hit By a Car on Halloween Night?
Parents have long had concerns about kids getting contaminated sweets or candy laced with drugs on Halloween. Other parents may also be on the lookout for sex offenders in the area. However, it might surprise you to learn that the biggest risk to children on Halloween is being hit by a car.
Overall, fatal pedestrian crashes have increased a whopping 33 percent since 2009. According to JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association), children between the ages of four and eight are 10 times more likely to be killed by a car on Halloween night than on other fall evenings. And the deadliest hour is between the onset of rush hour and sunset.
Additional issues that make pedestrians less safe on Halloween include:
- Most roads today are still designed for improving the safety of drivers, not pedestrians or cyclists.
- The majority of trick-or-treaters go at twilight, which is the most deadly time of day for pedestrians
- Smaller children, especially in areas where street lighting is poor, are hard to see from larger vehicles, such as SUVs
- Some areas do not have enough designated crossing areas and sidewalks
What Other Problems Increase the Risk to Trick-or-Treaters on Halloween?
There are other reasons why trick-or-treaters and other pedestrians are more likely to be hit by a car on Halloween. Children and their parents may do more jaywalking to go from house to house. Young trick-or-treaters – or even older ones- may trip in the street because of costumes that are ill-fitting, too long or have capes.
While parents have no control over drivers, they can help protect their little ones by taking some simple precautions.
- Stick to the sidewalks and cross in designated crossing areas
- Always look for traffic and assume the driver cannot see you
- Wait until all traffic completely stops and do not step into the road until they do
- Put reflective tape on your child to make them easier to see
- Do not put masks on your child as it makes it harder for them to see – if your child must wear a mask, raise them up to look both ways before crossing a street
- Make sure your child’s costume fits them properly and does not have long hanging parts or oversized shoes that could cause them to trip
- Talk to your children about watching out for cars, especially vehicles with drivers who may forget to put on their headlights
- Make sure there are enough adults per child
Who May Be Liable if a Trick-or-Treater is Hit By a Car?
Drivers owe pedestrians a duty of care. They are supposed to yield the right of way to pedestrians. This does not mean, however, pedestrians can walk into any street – including those with a crossing sign – and not look.
Pedestrians also owe a duty of care to avoid causing harm to others as well as themselves. This means always stopping and checking for traffic.
Here is an example where liability may be assessed in favor of the driver. Say a pedestrian darts into the street without checking for traffic. Drivers may have no chance to see the pedestrian and stop in time to avoid hitting them. In this situation, the pedestrian, or parent with a minor child, may be at least partially liable for the damages.
Injured By a Negligent Driver? Our Law Firm is Ready to Help
If a negligent driver caused you harm, you may be eligible to seek significant compensation for your damages. If your child was injured, you may be able to file an injury claim on his or her behalf.
Learn more about your legal options when you contact our firm and set up your free case review. Our experienced Fort Worth-area vehicle crash attorneys are ready to investigate your car accident and protect your legal interests.
There are no upfront costs to pay if we represent you. We only get paid our fees if we first win compensation for you through a legal claim or jury-awarded verdict.
Call to discuss your legal options today. (817) 920-9000.