Distracted Driving - Mitigating the Most Likely Halloween Risk

October 31 2022
By: Shawn M. Galloway

During the workday of Halloween, employees and leaders will work hard to control risk exposure on the job. Hazard identification training will take place, new risks will be identified, and barriers to safety excellence will be removed. Most of these same individuals will leave at the end of their day to return home to go trick-or-treating with family members or stay home to hand out candy. We are increasing our ability to identify hazards and control risks on the job, how well are we doing with Halloween?

Distracted Driving - Mitigating the Most Likely Halloween Risk

My earliest memories of the joys of Halloween are coupled with the horror stories of apples with needles in them, pixie sticks with PCP (Phencyclidine) or cyanide, child predators, and blades in lollipops. Many of these were myths, but there were truths as well. In 1964, a woman in Long Island, New York, frustrated with the increasing age of trick-or-treaters, handed out items containing steel wool, dog biscuits, and ant buttons. Thankfully she was prosecuted. In Detroit the same year, lye-filled gum made the news, along with rat poison as treats in Philadelphia.

Today these stories persist, and a new risk has emerged as the top danger of Halloween - distracted driving. According to the article, "Halloween is 'Deadliest Day' Of The Year For Pedestrian Fatalities" (http://www.bestplaces.net/docs/studies/halloween_deadliest_day.aspx), some concerning details were revealed based from an analysis of more than four million records in the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) from 1990 — 2010 for children 0-18 years of age on October 31. This was before mobile phones became ubiquitous.

  • "Halloween Was Deadliest Day of the Year for Child Pedestrian Accidents
  • Nearly one-fourth of accidents occurred from 6:00 — 7:00 p.m. Over 60% of the accidents occurred in the 4-hour period from 5:00 to 9:00 p.m.
  • Over 70% of the accidents occurred away from an intersection or crosswalk.
  • Most fatalities occurred with children ages 12-15 (32% of all child fatalities), followed by children ages 5-8 (23%).
  • Young drivers ages 15-25 accounted for nearly one-third of all fatal accidents involving child pedestrians on Halloween."

Several sources recommend the following tips to help keep children safe this Halloween from the most likely risk:

  1. If wearing a mask, make sure it doesn't limit vision
  2. Wear bright enough clothing or reflective items and carry a flashlight — and turn it on!
  3. Make sure clothing or costume accessories do not limit mobility
  4. Cross at crosswalks and intersections, not in the middle of the street
  5. Trick-or-Treat in larger groups to increase visibility
  6. If you need to drive, take a cab if consuming alcoholic beverages or are tired
  7. Do not operate a phone while driving (teenage drivers mare more prone to distracted driving)

Please take time to discuss these risks and prevention options. Share these facts and tips with your work colleagues and most importantly, your family. Give the power to those you care about, to help them mitigate the most likely risk they will encounter this Halloween, distracted driving.

"Knowledge is power." — Francis Bacon

"Halloween was confusing. All my life my parents said, 'Never take candy from strangers.' And then they dressed me up and said, 'Go beg for it.' " — Rita Rudner

"Halloween is not only about putting on a costume, but it's about finding the imagination and costume within ourselves." — Elvis Duran

Shawn M. Galloway

Shawn M. Galloway is CEO of the global consultancy ProAct Safety. He is a trusted advisor, professional keynote speaker, and author of several bestselling books on safety strategy, culture, leadership, and behavior-based safety. He is a monthly columnist for several magazines and one of the most prolific contributors in the industry, having also authored over 700 podcasts, 200 articles, and 100 videos. Shawn has received awards and recognition for his significant contributions from the American Society of Safety Professionals, National Safety Council's Top 40 Rising Stars and Top Ten Speakers, EHS Today Magazine's 50 People Who Most Influenced EHS, ISHN Magazine's POWER 101 - Leaders of the EHS World and their newest list: 50 Leaders for Today and Tomorrow, Pro-Sapien's list of The Top 11 Health and Safety Influencers and is an Avetta Distinguished Fellow.

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