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Halloween can be the deadliest night of the year for pedestrians: study

Last Updated Oct 31, 2018 at 6:11 am PDT

(Courtesy ICBC)

A study out of UBC finds Halloween can be the deadliest night of the year for pedestrians, especially children

Pedestrians 43 per cent more likely to get killed by a car on Halloween night, UBC study finds

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – When it comes to being safe on the streets tonight, you’ve likely heard the safety tips before, even from the police.

However, some new research out of the University of British Columbia finds that despite the safety messages, pedestrians are still at a much bigger risk on Halloween night.

It’s a 43-per-cent increase in the risk of pedestrian deaths on Oct. 31, says the study from UBC’s faculty of medicine.

Researchers examined 42 years of data, zeroing in on the period between 5:00 p.m. and midnight.

Young children are more likely to get hit and killed by a car Halloween night than on any other night of the year. The risk is actually 10 times higher for children between four and eight.

A co-author of the study says while the number of pedestrian fatalities have improved in recent years across the continent, traffic collisions kill more than 4,500 pedestrians in the U.S. every year.

“A dead pedestrian cannot be brought back to life,” Dr. Donald Redelmeier, a University of Toronto professor, said. “Yet almost all these deaths can be avoided by a small change in behaviour.”

The study finds not just one reason for increases in the number of pedestrian-involved crashes.

Those behind the study point to the huge number of costumed youngsters on the street, dark and often wet weather, dark costumes, alcohol and excitement as some of the factors.

“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,” Candace Yip, a study co-investigator and UBC student said. “Residential traffic calming, vehicle speed control, and incorporating reflective patches into outerwear might improve pedestrian safety year-round.”

You’re reminded to not drive after drinking or doing drugs, slow down in residential neighbourhoods, and talk to your children about road safety.

Researchers also recommend creating certain car-free areas in neighbourhoods on Halloween, and watching over younger children who are out trick-or-treating.