UTAH (ABC4) – Halloween 2021 is upon us and while it’s meant to be a fun night for kids and families to get dressed up and scour the neighborhood for treats. The Utah Department of Transportation and the Utah Highway Patrol is warning anyone who’s out and about to be extra cautious as they say pedestrian fatalities typically spike in the fall months.
But they say ultimately, it’s both the driver’s and pedestrian’s responsibility to help prevent tragic accidents.
“This is an exciting time for kids and parents we want to make sure everyone has a safe time and avoid a tragedy,” says U-DOT spokesperson John Gleason.
They tell us statewide pedestrian fatalities have jumped 25% in seven years, an incredibly scary trend. And as the end of daylight saving time approaches and the nights get longer, the risks for pedestrian crashes increase.
“As a mom, the number one thing I teach my kids is to look both ways, you get to the edge of the street and make sure you can see,” says UDOT Program Administrator Kristen Hoschouer.
To bring awareness to these bone-chilling stats UDOT and the Department of Public Safety have partnered on a campaign that brings attention to and improves pedestrian safety through education in the form of mythical creatures. As they say, there’s a misconception among both drivers and pedestrians when it comes to pedestrian accidents on Utah roads.
Hoschouer says one thing parents can do is “set some boundaries of where your kids can so they don’t run out and go somewhere they shouldn’t be.”
The biggest course of action pedestrians walking at night can take is “making sure you’re wearing that reflective gear or headlamp, something that makes you seen and visible” says Gleason.
In Utah, limited visibility is one of the highest leading causes of pedestrian crashes according to UDOT, and this spans beyond the Halloween season.
Gleason tells ABC4 “fall is the deadliest time for pedestrians, you have trick-or-treaters out at Halloween, the time changing and people trying to enjoy the last bit of warm weather and at Christmas, you have people out looking at Christmas lights.”
Utah Highway Patrol’s Colonel Micheal Rapich says “Pedestrian safety isn’t about who is right or who is wrong in a crash incident, it’s all about saving lives.”
For more on preventing pedestrian accidents go to pedestrianmyths.utah.gov.