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

Wow Wednesday! Be #safe, be seen this Halloween! Dress up your costume with retroreflective material. pic.twitter.com/2FkyYfgWIp

— Federal Highway Admn (@USDOTFHWA) October 28, 2015

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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