The Scariest Night for Pedestrians
Oct. 11, 2019
Halloween is already the scariest night of the year, but it is particularly scary if you’re a pedestrian. In the United States, more people die from getting hit by a car on Halloween than any other day of the year.
How many more pedestrians die on Halloween? About 43 percent more than on other autumn nights, according to a study published today in the journal JAMA Pediatrics. That adds up to about four additional pedestrian deaths on October 31st every year. The increase is a tragedy, and signals to experts that we need better traffic infrastructure to keep pedestrians safe.
Sadly, some of the things that make the holiday delightful also make it dangerous. The evenings get dark earlier, creating a spooky vibe, but also reducing visibility on the road. Kids rush from home to home trick-or-treating, sometimes darting out into the road in their excitement. Adults who are out at bars or parties having fun of their own might get behind the wheel when they shouldn’t.
The study started last year when researchers John Staples and Candace Yip at the University of British Columbia were walking back from a talk and saw posters advertising Halloween-themed parties at bars. The study uncovered data going back 42 years that show an increase of pedestrian deaths on Halloween.
The research team compared pedestrian deaths from 5PM right up until midnight on Halloween to deaths during that same time window the in the weeks before and after Halloween. They found that over these Halloweens from 1975 to 2016, a total of 608 pedestrians died — a 43 percent increase compared to random fall nights. Perhaps their most devastating finding was that 55 of those deaths were children ages 4 to 8. That’s 10 times more kids who died from being hit by a car on Halloween evenings, peaking around 6PM on Halloween nights.
Halloween pedestrian deaths have been on the rise since 2009 and have increased 46% from 2009 to 2016. Data shows that the fatal crashes happen in the dark and most involved an SUV-the higher profile vehicles are the right height to hit a pedestrian in the head or chest.
There is not a single answer to solve this problem, but it points to building safer sidewalks and crosswalks for pedestrians.
We want you to stay safe this Halloween! Make sure to carry flashlights, be mindful of vehicles, and wear reflective gear. If you are hurt in an accident this Halloween, Spencer Law is here for you.
Source: The Verge