BRATTLEBORO -- Today and this weekend, excited ghosts and goblins will begin to descend on neighborhoods throughout Vermont in search of those traditional "trick or treats." Halloween is a wonderful holiday, but because of increased foot traffic and that Trick-or-Treaters are out at night, the potential for automobile related accidents with young pedestrians increases four times on this night according to a study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The Vermont Governor’s Highway Safety Program asks parents and other drivers to be especially careful when driving in neighborhoods and other populated areas. Halloween is a wonderful traditional holiday, but the frenzied activities of costumed witches, vampires, monsters and the latest celebrity masked Trick-or-Treaters create a need for drivers to be especially vigilant. During these times, children may dart out into the street without looking first. Some, wearing dark costumes, in low or no light conditions, may be difficult to see. Unfortunately tragedies often happen in a blink of an eye, but the pain and grief can last a long time, even forever. We are appealing to you to drive as if you expect someone to suddenly and unexpectedly appear in front of your vehicle. And please, make yourself a promise to not use your cellphone during these times requiring your total focus on the act of driving. Before starting out, have a plan. Think about how you’ll respond
-- Costumes should not impair a child’s vision.
-- All costumes and treat bags should have reflective material as part of their design.
-- If there is no street lighting or poorly lit areas, have children carry or wear lighting devices, glow sticks or other illuminating objects.
-- Travel in supervised groups, small children should never be left on their own.
-- Use extreme caution when crossing streets; cross at corners, not mid-block.
-- When transporting Trick- or-Treaters, make sure the vehicle comes to a complete stop before your passengers get out. And while you’re driving your group, also be extremely aware of other groups of youngsters in the vicinity of your vehicle.
You can find more Halloween safety tips at www.safekids.org/our-work/research/reports/halloween-research-report.pdf
In addition, Halloween is traditionally a time for costume parties and celebrations. Everyone should act responsibility and to get where they’re going and back safely. It is your responsibility to plan ahead. Do not wait until you’ve consumed alcohol to make transportation plans. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration supports the nationwide effort to reduce the incidents of impaired driving. NHTSA has identified the Halloween time for increased enforcement and promotes the national "Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over" campaign during this time frame.
-- Be responsible and never drive impaired.
-- If you intend on consuming alcohol, have a plan, choose a sober driver before going out.
-- Use mass transit, call a cab or ask a sober friend to get you home.
-- Always buckle up -- it’s still your best defense against an impaired driver.
-- If you are hosting a Halloween party, make sure all of your guests leave with a sober driver.