Bellevue, Wash. (October 23, 2009) – With nearly one in three adults planning to attend or host a Halloween party this year, AAA urges partygoers to plan in advance by designating a sober driver before enjoying the festivities. Fifty-eight percent of all traffic fatalities in the U.S. on Halloween night last year involved a driver or motorcycle rider with a blood-alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08 or higher, which is illegal in every state.
In Washington state from 2004-2008, there have been six fatalities and 27 serious injuries resulting from vehicle crashes on Halloween night (4:00 p.m. Oct. 31 – 4:00 a.m. Nov. 1.) Half of the fatalities and more than a third of the serious injuries were from crashes that involved a driver who had been drinking.
“Halloween has become an increasingly popular occasion for adults to host and attend parties where alcohol is frequently served,” said Jennifer Cook, AAA Washington Traffic Safety spokesperson. “Drivers under the influence of alcohol are a danger by themselves, but when you add excited children in costumes to the equation, the danger escalates exponentially.”
With large numbers of child pedestrians and their adult escorts in neighborhoods for trick-or-treating this weekend, and many costume-clad adults taking to the roads to attend holiday parties, it is imperative that everyone involved in the celebration think about the importance of traffic safety, AAA said.
To help keep the roadways safe this Halloween weekend, AAA offers partygoers a few easy tips:
· Designate a sober driver in advance. If intending to drink alcohol, plan ahead to get home safely by selecting a designated driver or ensuring cab service is available from the party location. Never ride with a driver who has been drinking.
· Consider an overnight stay. If attending a party at a friend’s home, consider asking to stay overnight. If participating in festivities in a downtown or commercial area, look into hotel accommodations within walking distance. Many hotels offer special Halloween weekend rates and promotions.
· Do not let impaired guests drive. If hosting a Halloween party, remind guests to plan ahead and designate their sober driver, offer alcohol-free beverages and do not allow impaired guests to drive. Prepare a list of local taxi companies in advance to have ready should guests need to call one.
· Avoid traveling through residential areas. If possible, try to avoid cutting through residential areas where trick-or-treaters are likely to be present. If providing directions to a party, try not to route guests through residential areas unnecessarily.
· Watch for children in the street. While trick-or-treating, children may not pay attention to traffic and might cross mid-block or between parked cars. Motorists should scan far ahead when driving in residential areas, watch for children and cautiously monitor their actions.
· Obey the speed limit. Motorists should obey the posted speed limit. When driving through residential areas were trick-or-treaters are likely out, consider driving five miles per hour less than the posted speed limit.
For additional tips to keep Halloween safe, including tips for parents and trick-or-treaters, visit AAA.com/PublicAffairs.
AAA Washington has been serving members and the traveling public since 1904. The organization provides a variety of exclusive benefits, including roadside assistance, discounts, maps and personalized trip planning, to its 985,000 members. In addition, its full-service travel and insurance agencies provide products and services for members and the public. Additional information is available through the company’s 26 offices in Washington and northern Idaho, at AAA.com, or by calling 1-800-562-2582.