October 24, 2012
Lieutenant Gregg Hastings
Public Information Officer
ODOT Public Affairs
If you think a Halloween costume will disguise your drunk driving, Oregon law enforcement agencies across the region have a message for you: keep the Halloween party off our roads.
"As party-goers celebrate Halloween over the weekend and trick-or-treaters scatter around our neighborhoods Wednesday night, be aware that your disguise won't make you invisible," said Captain Ted Phillips, director of Oregon State Police Patrol Services Division. "Oregon's law enforcement officers who arrest drunk drivers will be visible looking for those who decide to drive impaired."
Nighttime is a dangerous time to be on the road, but Halloween night can be one of the deadliest of the year for crashes involving impaired drivers. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in 2010, 41 percent of all highway fatalities across the nation on Halloween night (6:00 p.m., October 29, to 5:59 a.m., November 1) involved a driver or motorcycle rider with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or higher.
ODOT's Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) reported no traffic fatalities in Oregon during Halloween night over the last three years. FARS statistics between 1998 and 2008 tell a scarier story as 90 percent of the fatalities (10) on Halloween night in Oregon occurred in alcohol and/or drug-involved traffic crashes.
During the last two Halloween nights, on Sunday and Monday respectively, OSP troopers arrested 8 DUII drivers each night. The numbers tell a different story when Halloween fell on a Saturday night in 2009; troopers then arrested 34 DUII drivers, which is why law enforcement agencies are concerned about this weekend when many Halloween parties may happen.
"Plan now if you are attending a weekend Halloween event and have an alert, sober driver operating any vehicle," said Phillips.
ODOT, OSP and local law enforcement agencies offer these simple reminders for a safer Halloween:
For all drivers:
*Slow down in residential neighborhoods and obey all traffic signs and signals.
*Slow down on streets where there are no sidewalks and children are walking on or near street and shoulder of the road.
*Enter and exit driveways and alleys slowly and cautiously. Have child passengers enter and exit cars on the curb side, away from traffic.
For adult traffic safety:
*Be responsible - never drive impaired.
*If you plan to drink, choose your sober driver before going out.
*Be aware of weather and traffic conditions before you leave, adjusting your speed and driving to the conditions.
*If impaired, use mass transit, call a cab or ask a sober friend to get you home.
*If all else fails, just stay where you are and sleep it off.
*Always buckle up - it's still your best defense against an impaired driver.
*If hosting a Halloween party, make sure all guests leave with a sober driver.
For parents and children:
*Dress children in bright costumes. Use reflective tape or stickers on dark costumes.
*Apply face paint or cosmetics appropriate for children directly to the face. It is safer than a loose-fitting mask that can obstruct a child's vision.
*If a mask is worn, cut the eyeholes large enough for full vision.
*Have children carry flashlights or glow sticks to improve their visibility.
*Secure hats so they will not slip over children's eyes.
*Remind children to cross streets only at intersections.
*Teach them to stop and look for cars, looking to the left, right and left again before crossing, and then to keep looking both ways for cars while they cross.
*Teach them never to dart into a street or cross a street from between parked cars.
Elementary age pedestrians are at highest risk because they:
*Have a field of vision one-third narrower than an adult's.
*Are unable to determine the direction of sounds.
*Cannot accurately judge the speed or distance of moving vehicles.
*Overestimate their abilities.
*Are easily hidden by parked cars, bushes, leaf piles, trash bins, etc.
Everyone plays an important role in keeping our roads and children safe. Immediately report aggressive, dangerous and intoxicated drivers to 9-1-1 or the Oregon State Police at 1-800-24DRUNK (1-800-243-7865).
Questions about local efforts should be directed to your local city, county and State Police offices.