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Massachusetts AAA offers tips and warnings as Halloween deadliest day by far for child pedestrians



Westwood, MA, Oct. 26, 2023—This Halloween, neighborhood streets will be filled with witches, zombies, and other frightful (or not-so-frightful) characters. As young trick-or-treaters comb the streets in search of candy, AAA is reminding drivers that Halloween is the most dangerous day of the year for child pedestrians and that everyone plays a role in making this year’s festivities safe.

AAA Northeast’s analysis of federal crash data shows that between 2007 and 2021, the deadliest day for child pedestrians aged 17 and under is Oct. 31. A total of 49 children across the country were killed on Halloween during that period, nearly double the next deadliest day. Oct. 31 is the second deadliest day for pedestrians of all ages, with Nov. 1 the deadliest, so revelers should be sure to drive and walk safely at all hours.

In Massachusetts, state crash data shows that more children are struck by vehicles on Halloween than any other day of the year. Between 2002 and 2022, 57 pedestrians aged 17 and under were involved in crashes on October 31.

In addition to drivers and pedestrians prioritizing safety on the roadway, AAA urges municipalities to invest in sidewalks and street lighting wherever possible.

“Whether you’re out trick-or-treating with children or getting together with friends, safety should be paramount on Halloween,” said Mark Schieldrop, AAA Northeast Senior Spokesperson. “Drivers must be especially vigilant between 4 p.m. and midnight, when pedestrians are the most vulnerable.”

To help make the roadways safer this Halloween, AAA Northeast offers motorists a few easy tips:

Avoid neighborhood shortcuts. If possible, avoid cutting through residential streets where trick-or-treaters are likely to be present.

Watch for children in the street or walking on medians and curbs. Excited trick-or-treaters, often in dark costumes, may not pay attention to traffic and may cross mid-block or between parked cars.

Slow down. According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, a pedestrian is more than twice as likely to be killed if hit by a car traveling 35 mph compared to 25 mph. What seems like a small difference – just 10 mph – can be the difference between life and death.

Drive sober. Alcohol-impaired drivers make up about one-third of all motor vehicle deaths nationwide, with an average of one drunk driving fatality every 39 minutes in 2021, the last year of available federal data. That year, across the country, 38 people were killed in drunk driving crashes on Halloween night. Always designate a sober driver or find some alternate means of transportation.

AAA also has tips for parents and children:

Trick-or-treat together. AAA recommends that parents accompany youngsters at least until the age of 12.

Review trick-or-treating safety precautions and plan the route ahead of time. Remind children never to cross the street mid-block or between parked cars.

Check costumes. Choose disguises that don’t obstruct vision and where possible use face paint instead of masks. Check and adjust the length of costumes to avoid tripping and add reflective material or tape to keep kids visible. Carry a flashlight.

Buckle up. If driving trick-or-treaters between neighborhoods, always use seat belts or appropriate car seats, no matter how short the trip is. Have children exit and enter from the sidewalk rather than from the road when possible.

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