So, it's finally Halloween. You carved and put out the pumpkins, you covered the trees in cobwebs, and you have the noise machine rigged to make ghost sounds in tune with the gauze ghosts you hung from the roof. You even have an enormous cauldron filled to the brim with a wide assortment of candy. You sit back and sigh wishing you could go trick-or-treating. After all, you've made your house into the exact kind you would've been excited to go to as a child. But then, you remember that you're going to a costume party this evening. You can still go all out with your attire, plus there will be alcohol in addition to the candy there. Why were you even upset? An adult Halloween is way better!
While adults typically don't go trick-or-treating, there are plenty of other ways to celebrate Halloween that don’t involve running from house to house looking for candy. And while Halloween can be a fun night for adults too, it’s important not to have too much fun and risk anyone’s safety. Since most adult Halloween parties involve alcohol, it's important that people don't engage in drinking and driving, which can lead to drunk driving car accidents. What's worse is that since so many children are on the streets on Halloween night, drunk driving accidents are very likely to cause serious injury or death to children.
Drunk driving is an unfortunately all too common occurrence on Halloween night, taking the lives of both those who were in the car, as well as innocent bystanders. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) found that between 2009 and 2013, 43% of all deaths that occurred on Halloween were due to a drunk driving related car collision. In 2013, 26% of all pedestrian fatalities were caused by a drunk driver. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, there were 55 deaths on Halloween night in 2015, a significant rise from 17 deaths in 2011. Officials expect that number will steadily rise over the coming years.
The NHTSA also found that drunk driving car accidents are three times more likely to occur on Halloween than New Year’s Eve. David Bohl, the director of an alcohol abuse recovery center outside of Chicago, believes this is because the idea of adults celebrating Halloween has increased in popularity over the past few years. Speaking to The Chicago Tribune, Bohl said that more adults are choosing to celebrate the night with drinking. If people are celebrating on the weekend (regardless of what day the holiday actually falls on) this can lead to 6-8 hours of alcohol consumption.
In an effort to combat drunk driving, ride sharing app Uber has a Halloween guide for those who will be drinking. Ride sharing apps such as Uber and Lyft are a a great way to minimize drunk driving accidents. However, it’s important to remember that with ride sharing apps, surge pricing is usually in effect for nights like Halloween, so the fare may be higher than expected. Therefore, Halloween party-goers who plan to drink might want to consider public transportation, a cab service, or selecting a designated driver, as other safe alternatives to driving while intoxicated.
Even if drivers are not drunk, it is important to be especially cautious on Halloween night as the streets will be filled with excited trick-or-treaters looking for candy. According to the NHTSA, many pedestrian accidents are caused by common mistakes made by drivers that can be avoided. Safe Kids has the following tips for drivers.
Halloween Driving Safety Tips
Slow down and be especially alert in residential neighborhoods. Children are excited on Halloween and may move in unpredictable ways.
Take extra time to look for kids at intersections, on medians and on curbs.
Enter and exit driveways and alleys slowly and carefully.
Eliminate any distractions inside your car so you can concentrate on the road and your surroundings.
Drive slowly, anticipate heavy pedestrian traffic, and turn your headlights on earlier in the day to spot children from greater distances.
Popular trick-or-treating hours are 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. so be especially alert for kids during those hours.
Celebrating Halloween is not something that has to end once you’ve outgrown trick or treating, but it’s also not a reason to endanger your own life or the lives of others. As Halloween continues to be a popular night for drinking, drunk driving accidents are likely to continue. Even if you only plan on having a couple of drinks, stay safe and have a designated driver or use a service such as a ridesharing app. If you are not drunk, it is still necessary to take extra precautions, drive safely, and be aware of the increased amount of child pedestrians roaming the streets that evening. There is no way to assure car collisions won't happen on Halloween, but being aware of the dangers and having a plan for staying safe can help lower the risk to yourself and others.
Drunk driving is bad idea regardless of the time of year, and drunk driving accidents happen year round. If you have been involved in a drunk driving accident, call The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free legal consultation. Let our attorneys handle your legal troubles while you recover.