TRENTON – This week, thousands of children are hitting the streets in costumes with pillowcases in hand, and the Division of Highway Traffic Safety is asking parents to make sure their ghosts, witches and zombies can be seen by motorists while trick-or-treating.
The Division has distributed more than 25,000 glow-in-the-dark wristbands to community safety organizations with the aim to make pint-sized pedestrians more visible on the state’s roads and sidewalks. The wristbands are emblazoned with the message: “Be Safe! Be Seen!”
“Halloween is a special night when we see a swell of young pedestrians on sidewalks and in intersections,” said Division of Highway Traffic Safety Acting Director Gary Poedubicky.
“Pedestrian safety is a shared responsibility between those behind the wheel and those on their feet. Motorists need to be on high alert if they’re driving through residential communities, especially in urbanized areas, where pedestrian accidents are sadly more common. They also must stop and stay stopped for pedestrians crossing at crosswalks.”
“Pedestrians can do their part by only crossing at crosswalks and making sure reflective materials are part of any costume – wearing one of our wristbands is one way to do that.”
On average, more than 400 child pedestrians under the age of 15 are struck by motor vehicles in the state each year. Last year, six were killed on New Jersey’s roads. A survey sponsored by Safe Kids Worldwide in 2011 found that parents’ biggest fear for their children on Halloween was pedestrian injury (31 percent), which polled higher than poisoning (24 percent) and abduction (15 percent). National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) statistics support those concerns. NHTSA has reported that, on average, twice as many children are killed in pedestrian/vehicle accidents on Halloween between 4 p.m. and 10 p.m. as compared to the same hours on other days throughout the year
The Division offers the following safety tips to ensure a safe Halloween.
Tips for Parents to Share with Children:
- Cross at intersections only.
- Never cross between parked cars.
- Before crossing, look left, right and left again, and listen for traffic.
- Wear light-colored or reflective clothing at night.
- If there is no sidewalk available, walk as far off the roadway as possible on the side of the road, facing oncoming traffic.
- Obey all traffic signs and signals.
- Children should carry a flashlight during the evening hours.
- Stop for pedestrians in crosswalks. Failure to do so carries a $200 fine, plus court fees and a two-point penalty.
- Watch for pedestrians when turning on red.
- Obey posted speed limits.
- Do not block or park in crosswalks.
- Keep your windshield clean (inside and out) for maximum visibility.
- Be alert for pedestrians at all times.
- Turn on your headlights prior to dusk to increase your visibility for pedestrians and other vehicles.
To find out where you can get a “Be Safe, Be Seen” wristband, you can contact the Division via email (firstname.lastname@example.org), phone (609-633-9300) or Twitter (@NJTrafficSafety).