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Tennessee Highway Patrol Encourages Traffic Safety this Halloween

Monday, October 27, 2014 | 09:27am

NASHVILLE --- Four people were killed in traffic crashes in Tennessee during last year’s Halloween period between midnight, October 31 through 11:59 p.m., November 1, compared to three traffic deaths during the same time in 2012. That’s why the Tennessee Highway Patrol is urging all motorists to drive cautiously, buckle up and don’t drink and drive this Halloween.

“We have planned for increased patrols and will conduct a variety of enforcement plans to help ensure a safe Halloween for citizens across the state,” Colonel Tracy Trott said. “Drunk or distracted driving will not be tolerated and state troopers will aggressively seek out violators. The failure to wear seat belts is also unacceptable – it’s the law,” he added.    

Three of the four vehicular fatalities during last year’s Halloween period were unrestrained vehicle occupants and one traffic death was alcohol-related.   Last year, state troopers issued 240 speeding citations and arrested 51 individuals on suspicion of drunk driving in Tennessee on October 31.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), from 2008-2012 (the latest data available), almost half (51%) of all crash fatalities on Halloween night involved a drunk driver or motorcycle operator. In 2012, 19 percent of the fatal pedestrian crashes on Halloween involved drunk drivers.

In Tennessee, the preliminary number of alcohol-related traffic fatalities has decreased 25 percent from January 1, 2014 to October 27, 2014, compared to that same time last year. So far in 2014, there have been 166 alcohol-related vehicular fatalities. That is 41 fewer than the 207 traffic fatalities involving alcohol during those same dates in 2013.      

As of October 27, there have been 68 pedestrian fatalities in Tennessee in 2014. That’s two more pedestrian deaths compared to this same time last year.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimate children are four times as likely to be struck by a vehicle on Halloween as any other day. 

THP personnel will conduct saturation patrols, sobriety and seat belt checkpoints, as well as bar and tavern checks this holiday period.

Below are tips parents, children and motorists should keep in mind before heading out this Halloween. 

HALLOWEEN SAFETY TIPS

Tips for Motorists

·         Slow down. Watch for children walking on roads, medians and curbs.

·         Be extra alert when pulling in and out of driveways.

·         Be especially alert for children darting out from between parked vehicles and from behind bushes and shrubs. They’re excited and may not be paying attention.

·         Do not pass other vehicles that have stopped in the roadway.  They could be dropping off children.

·         If you are driving to a Halloween party, put your mask on after you park the car.

·         Never drink and drive – tonight or any night. If you are partying, designate a driver.

Tips for Parents

·         Adults should accompany children at all times and supervise their "trick or treat" activities.

·         Teach children to "stop, look left-right-left, and listen" before they cross the street.

·         Instruct children to stay on sidewalks and to cross only at corners or crosswalks.

·         Use a flashlight and wear retro-reflective strips or patches on your clothing or costume to be more visible to motorists.

·         Be certain that the mask does not obstruct vision or hearing.

·         Ensure that costumes do not impede walking or driving ability.

Tips for Pedestrians (children and adults)

·         Require children to wear retro-reflective materials and carry a flashlight at dawn and dusk and in other low-light situations, such as rainy or foggy weather.

·         Before crossing a street, stop at the curb or edge of the road and look left, right and left again to be sure no cars are coming. Continue to check for traffic while on the street.

·         Walk – never run – from house to house or across the road.

·         Cross the street only at intersections and crosswalks.

·         When crossing at an intersection with a traffic light, be sure to watch for turning cars. Obey all pedestrian signals.

·         Walk on sidewalks whenever possible. If there are no sidewalks, walk on the left side of the street facing traffic.

The Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security’s (www.TN.Gov/safety) mission is to serve, secure, and protect the people of Tennessee.

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