Trick-or-Treaters Need Safe Streets, Not “Be Seen!” Tweets

Halloween is the worst day of the year for child pedestrian fatalities in the United States. A 2012 study by State Farm found that the average number of children killed by drivers more than doubles on October 31 compared to other days, based on federal crash data from 1990 to 2010.

So what should be a holiday for care-free fun is marked by admonishments, directed at parents and kids, to avoid getting killed by motorists, like this tweet from the Federal Highway Administration. There’s also the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which has been tweeting all week about how children should “be seen.”

All fine, but maybe parents wouldn’t have to preserve their children’s lives by adding “retroreflective material” to costumes if transportation agencies made more of an effort to reduce crashes the other 364 days of the year. When the people at NHTSA put the onus on children to prevent crashes even as they neglect to regulate driver-distracting infotainment systems, how seriously do they take traffic safety?

Platitudes are not protecting children from reckless and inattentive drivers. If government agencies and officials want to keep kids safe, they’re going to have to do more than tweet about it.

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  • BBnet3000

    I’m curious how much it spikes in NYC compared to the US overall.

  • Miles Bader

    Sounds like the right thing to do is make Halloween car-free. Say, from 7pm until 2am. Take back the streets, for one spooky eve….

  • chekpeds

    That is brilliant .. from noon to 2 AM..

  • qrt145

    I suspect that the difference in NYC wouldn’t be statistically significant because the numbers are too small. Most days the number of children killed in the streets of NYC is, thankfully, zero. Even over 20 years, the signal would probably get lost in the noise.

    But as a thought experiment, if we imagined that we could get the data for thousands of years (or parallel universes), I would expect that the spike for NYC would be smaller (relative to the rest of the year) than it is for the rest of the country. The reason is that in much of the country, it is only a slight exaggeration to say that the only day of the year that children walk on the streets is Halloween!

  • Andrew
  • Frank Dell

    Sadly predictable. Sadly preventable…

  • reasonableexplanation

    This is the correct way to handle this, and some neighborhoods in ny already cordon off a good chunk of streets for the evening of the 31st.

  • c2check

    A driver going a reasonable speed should be able to stop in 200 ft.

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