October 31st brings another year of tricks and treats as we celebrate Halloween across the nation. This night presents many challenges, compounded by Daylight Saving Time that brings nightfall sooner – usually right around rush hour. Kids are out in force, some accompanied by parents; others roaming the neighborhood in packs with friends.
Not only are people driving to get home from work to hand out candy or take their own kids trick or treating, the risk is even higher for those who hit the bar after work for Happy Hour. Those same people are on the roadways occupied by your kids sprinting door to door in search of candy.
Halloween is supposed to be a fun holiday, with no worries about hit and run crashes or pedestrian fatalities. Unfortunately, the statistics say otherwise. In 2012, 48% of all crash fatalities on Halloween involved a driver who was under the influence, compared with 31% on an average day. About 28% of Halloween crash fatalities were pedestrians, compared with 14% on an average day.
The CDC puts out harrowing statistics every year as the result of a landmark study done between 1975 and 1996. The finding revealed that the number of childhood pedestrian deaths went up four-fold among kids on Halloween night when compared with all other nights. Overall, among children ages five and 14, an average of four deaths took place on Halloween during these hours each year, versus an average of one death during these same hours any other day of the year.
The three deadliest days for pedestrians are historically December 23, January 1, and October 31; the latter two are the two days with the most pedestrian fatalities.
At least Halloween falls on a Tuesday night this year, although it’s small consolation. There will still be increased crashes and pedestrian fatalities, but not quite as many as when Halloween falls on a Saturday night. Studies show that when Halloween takes place on a Saturday, drinking violations skyrocket by 4 1/2 times in comparison with the average increase when Halloween occurs on other days of the week. This is because many adults are out at weekend parties and drive home drunk.
The time period in question is always a bit tricky, too. With most trick or treat hours falling between 5 p.m. and 8 p.m. at night, this is also when the sun is setting – a notorious condition known as solar glare that makes it much more difficult for drivers to see the road. And it’s not just kids being hit in the middle of the street – accidents happen on sidewalks, driveways and parking lots too.
Car accidents and hit and run crashes aren’t the only danger plaguing Halloween. Fire is a growing problem, too. Between 2011 and 2013, fire departments responded to 10,300 fires around the country during the three-day time period around Halloween. Those fires caused an estimated 25 deaths, 125 injuries and more than $80 million in property loss, according to the U.S. Fire Administration.
Most of said fires were outside fires, such as bonfires and campfires (38%), followed by residential dwelling fires (33%). So what causes most Halloween fires? Cooking takes the lead with 44%, followed by heating (15%), careless actions (seven percent), open flames such as with candles in jack o’ lanterns (six percent), electrical malfunction (6 percent), and intentional actions (5 percent).
Here at Power Legal Group, we work with car accident victims on a regular basis. But we also work with victims of fire in regards to premises liability, wrongful death and more.
This Halloween, stay safe on the roadways and at home. If you do suffer injuries or the death of a loved one due to the above-mentioned Halloween dangers, we can help. Call Power Legal Group today at 800-323-POWER for a free consultation.