Watch for trick-or-treaters

Oct 30 2011 - 11:01pm

Halloween is the deadliest night of the year for pedestrians, say AAA officials.

Statistics show the number of deaths among pedestrians from 5 to 14 years of age is four times higher on Halloween, between 4 p.m. and 10 p.m., said Cynthia Harris, Utah AAA spokeswoman.

"Children are always at greater risk as pedestrians because of their shorter stature and unreliable judgment about when and where to cross streets," Harris said.

"By slowing down, watching for trick-or-treaters who may cross between cars, and choosing a sober designated driver, you could be saving a life," she said.

Some tips parents and drivers can adhere to in being extra vigilant on Halloween night include slowing down and avoiding cutting through residential streets where trick-or-treaters are more likely to be.

Also, a pedestrian is more than twice as likely to be killed if they are hit by a vehicle traveling 35 mph compared to 25 mph, according to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. Utah AAA officials also stress the importance of driving sober.

As part of AAA's ongoing commitment to keeping the roads safe on holidays, AAA's Tipsy Tow Program will offer a free tow for drinking drivers from 6 p.m. today to 6 a.m. Nov. 1, Harris said.

Members and nonmembers alike can call 800-222-4357 (AAA-HELP) for a free tow of up to 10 miles.

"Just tell the AAA operator, 'I need a Tipsy Tow,' and a truck will be on its way," said Harris.

The service is restricted to a one-way ride for the driver and a vehicle to the driver's home.

Other tips on how to make Halloween night safer for all involved are:

* Parents should accompany children age 11 or younger who are trick-or-treating.

* Plan a trick-or-treat route ahead of time and remind children to never cross the street at mid-block or between parked cars.

* Choose costumes that do not obstruct vision, and opt for nontoxic face paint instead of masks. Parents should add reflective material to a child's costume and adjust the length of any costume that may cause a child to trip.

* Buckle up.

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