With Halloween coming up soon, I would like to remind drivers and families to keep safety in mind as they have fun. Most people don't realize this, but according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Halloween is the second deadliest day of the year for pedestrians, surpassed only by New Year's Day. Not surprisingly, alcohol plays a big part in that statistic. The Georgia Governor's Office of Highway Safety reports that across the nation. 58% of highway fatalities involved a driver who was legally drunk, with a blood-alcohol concentration of 0.08 or greater. This is far above the national average for the entire year, which is routinely around 32%. As a father and a Georgia drunk driving accident attorney, I'd like to offer safety information for trick-or-treaters of all ages.
In response to the typically high rate of DUI accidents on Halloween, the Governor's Office of Highway Safety promises that law enforcement will be on high alert for drunk drivers. In fact, police agencies began their crackdown a week before, on Friday, Oct. 23, according to MyFox Atlanta. On that day, police agencies throughout Metro Atlanta set up checkpoints to check for alcohol-impaired drivers and stepped up patrols. The same measures are expected throughout the Halloween weekend that begins Friday evening. The enforcement effort includes mobile blood-alcohol testing as well as a team of wreckers standing by to impound vehicles of drivers found to be under the influence of alcohol.
Avoiding drunk driving is at the top of the list of Halloween safety tips offered by Consumer Reports for drivers. In a blog post dated Oct. 28, the magazine reminded drivers that kids may be out even later than usual this year because it's a Saturday followed by the end of Daylight Saving Time, which adds an extra hour to Nov. 1. The blog suggested to drivers that they use extra caution in residential neighborhoods and anywhere else children are gathered, driving slowly and keeping an eye on child pedestrians. It also reminded parents to let kids out of vehicles on the curb side of the road; use flashers during stops; avoid using phones while driving and always use age-appropriate safety seats. For trick-or-treaters on foot, Consumer Reports said parents should accompany kids under 12; kids should stick to sidewalks and walk rather than run; and parents should consider giving their kids glow sticks, flashlights or costumes with reflective material, so drivers can see them easily.
As a Gwinnett County DUI accident lawyer, I hope both drivers and pedestrians take these warnings to heart. Through my work, I frequently see the heart-breaking results of drunk driving. When people choose to get behind the wheel after drinking, they expose all of the innocent drivers and pedestrians around them to death and permanent, irreversible disabilities. These catastrophic, emotionally devastating injuries can throw victims into a financial panic as well, thanks to the double whammy of huge medical bills and unplanned, injury-caused time off work. And of course, the drunk drivers themselves face the heartbreak of knowing they are responsible for these injuries, as well as criminal prosecution and liability in a potential Georgia drunk driving injury lawsuit.