Halloween linked to increased pedestrian fatalities: Study

Toronto, Nov 2: The young population is more likely to be fatally struck by a vehicle on Halloween than on other nights of the year, according to a new research.The study found that there is a 43 per cent increase in the risk of pedestrian deaths on the day of Halloween."Collecting 'trick-or-treat' candy from neighbours has been a Halloween tradition among children for over a century, and adult Halloween parties have become increasingly popular in bars and on campuses across North America. We wondered if the combination of dark costumes, excitement and alcohol made the streets more dangerous for pedestrians. Our findings suggest that it does," said John Staples, clinical assistant professor from the University of British Columbia in Canada.For the study, the team from the varsity examined National Highway Traffic Safety Administration data on all fatal traffic crashes in the United States between 1975 and 2016.They compared the number of pedestrian fatalities between 5 in the evening and midnight on Halloween with the number during the same hours on control days one week earlier and one week later.Results, published in the journal, JAMA Pediatrics, showed that Halloween is associated with four additional pedestrian deaths among young adults and the risk of pedestrian fatality was 10 times higher on Halloween for children between four to eight years of age than on other nights.In addition, the most dangerous time of accident was between 5 p.m. and 8 p.m.Importantly, total mortality rates averaged 2.07 and 1.45 pedestrian fatalities per hour on Halloween nights and the other evenings respectively."Our findings suggest there are opportunities to improve pedestrian safety on Halloween, but they also highlight ways that traffic safety might be improved on the other 364 days of the year," said Candace Yip, an undergraduate student from the university.The researchers recommended that neighbourhoods consider making their area car-free on Halloween. They hoped to remind the public not to drive after consuming alcohol, cannabis, or other drugs.Furthermore, they urged drivers to slow down in residential neighbourhoods, suggested that parents talk to children about street-crossing safety, and recommended that younger children are supervised while trick-or-treating.