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Pedestrians, motorists need to be extra vigilant on Halloween

With perhaps the exception of Christmas, Halloween has rapidly become one of the more popular holidays here in the U.S. with consumers eagerly shelling out hundreds of dollars on costumes, decorations, party goods and candy.

While all of this is in good fun, it's extremely important for kids and adults (especially parents) to remember to be extra vigilant when hitting the street by foot or by automobile. That's because Halloween has some pretty frightening statistics when it comes to car accidents involving pedestrians.

Consider some of the following statistics from a recent report issued by insurance giant State Farm that examined federal crash records involving children 0-18 years of age from 1990 to 2010:

  • Over the 21-year period under study, Halloween saw 115 children involved in fatal pedestrian accidents, which breaks down to an average of 5.5 fatalities per year. This is more than twice the average number of fatalities on other days.
  • Children between the ages of 12-15 saw the highest percentage of fatalities (32 percent) followed by children between the ages of 5-8 (23 percent).
  • More than 70 percent of the fatal pedestrian accidents occurred in the middle of the block, away from crosswalks and intersections.
  • More than 60 percent of the fatal pedestrian accidents took place between 5:00-9:00 p.m.
  • More than one-third of the fatal pedestrian accidents were caused by drivers between the ages of 15-25.

Grim figures like these serve to underscore how motorists must be extra careful this coming Friday when making their way through residential areas, reducing their speed, eliminating distractions, activating their headlights and maintaining a more heightened awareness of their surroundings.

Similarly, children and parents will also need to exercise greater caution while out trick-or-treating, wearing reflective clothing/tape, crossing at crosswalks and street corners, eliminating distractions, and using sidewalks.

If the unthinkable occurs on Halloween night -- or any other time of the year -- thanks to the actions of a negligent motorist, it's important to consider speaking with an experienced legal professional as soon as possible to learn more about your rights and your options for pursuing justice.

Source: USA Today, "Scary stuff: Halloween hazards are not just for kids," Kim Painter, Oct. 26, 2014

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