Fall is a beautiful time of year. With changing leaves, apple cider, football games, and pumpkin flavored everything, what's not to like about the changing of the seasons? Well, as anyone with a fear of clowns may remember, this time last year, the streets were flooded with creepy clowns. Clowns were everywhere, and The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC blog even wrote about the clown sighting, as what started out as a creepy, but generally harmless prank, ended up having deadly consequences.
Readers may recall that a 16-year old boy in Reading, Pennsylvania died after getting into a fight with someone dressed as a clown, and in Wisconsin, clowns were chasing cars in the streets. Right here in Michigan, a clown reportedly attacked a 7-year old in Sterling Heights. As a result of the creepy clown craze, many establishments started banning people in clown costumes from entering, and some halloween stores stopped selling clown costumes all together. It was a bizarre and terrifying phenomenon that preoccupied Americans throughout the fall of last year.
This Fall, while there have yet to be reports of actual clown sightings, one famous one is leaving his calling card in various cities around the world. Stephen King’s 1986 novel It, which was first made into a miniseries that debuted in 1990, has been rebooted into a movie, and premiered on September 8, 2017. Leading up to the release, the trademark of Pennywise the killer clown, a red balloon tied to a storm grate, has been found in cities around the world. On September 5, 2017, in a now viral Facebook post, the Lititz Borough Police Department in Pennsylvania reported finding red balloons tied to storm grates throughout their town. Down under, in Sydney and Melbourne, Australia, pedestrians also noticed the balloons popping up on their streets. Luckily for all of us, it does not appear as though Pennywise was behind it. In Pennsylvania, 5 teenaged girls admitted to placing the balloons as a way to scare their classmates who were excited about the movie. In Australia, the red balloons were used as a promotional campaign for the release of the movie.
Spooky pranks such as dressing up as a clown or leaving red balloons around town may seem fun and innocent, but the consequences can go much further than planned. Trying to scare people may seem harmless enough, but what if those people are driving a car? Motorists who are calmly driving down the road are likely to be startled at best and petrified at worst, by a clown jumping out into the road, seeming coming out of thin air, and chasing them down the road. Being scared while operating a motor vehicle could potentially result in the driver taking their focus off of the road, which for even a second could cause a car collision. Seeing a red on a grate while passing through an intersection could have a similar distracted driving car crash effect. Even if people aren't scared by seeing the balloon and realizing it's implication, they could take their hands off the wheel to point it out to a friend or try and take a picture.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 3,477 people died in 2015 alone, due to distracted driving accidents. While many people associate distracted driving with texting or talking on a cell phone, being chased by a clown or seeing red balloons in your street can be pretty distracting too. Nobody wants to call their car insurance company or a car accident lawyer and have to tell the embarrassing story of how they totaled their car because they saw a red balloon coming out of the sewer!
So, leading up to Halloween this year, everyone should remember to have a good time, but to have a safe time, by doing things that don't involve public pranks.
Cell phone related distracted driving accidents are not the only kind of distracted driving car crash. Whether it's a hyper pet in the back seat or a creepy Halloween decoration, anything that momentarily causes a driver to take their eyes off the road could cause a car crash. If you or a loved one have been the victim of a distracted driving car collision, call The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free legal consultation with one of our experienced attorneys.