Campaign focuses on keeping kids, teens safe on Halloween

HalloweenYouth of Virginia Speak Out About Traffic Safety is joining with the Virginia State Police and the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles Highway Safety Office to encourage youth and teens to make good choices and celebrate responsibly as part of the Halloween Safety Campaign.

The campaign’s focus is to prevent a tragedy on what is supposed to be a fun night for youth.

This week, schools and youth groups across the Commonwealth are participating in the peer-to peer campaign by organizing programs and activities to promote safe and responsible celebrations on Halloween night. All participating schools will receive a Halloween safety banner, pledge cards, activity ideas and suggested announcements to promote a safe Halloween.

The campaign also provides an opportunity for high school students to talk with students at their local preschool, elementary and middle schools about trick or treat safety. Schools working with younger students will receive Halloween safety activity books, candy bags, a Halloween safety PowerPoint presentation and a list of ideas to promote trick or treat safety.

YOVASO staff say irresponsible driving behaviors such as underage drinking and driving as well as texting and driving can be even more deadly on Halloween night when young children are out trick-or-treating on neighborhood streets. Between 2012 and 2016, there were 168 drunk-driving fatalities on Halloween night (6 p.m. Oct. 31 to 5:59 a.m. Nov. 1).* Approximately 44 percent of all fatalities on Halloween night were crashes involving a drunk driver.*

“With irresponsible celebrating comes unsafe driving behaviors and poor decisions, making Halloween night a dangerous time to be on the roads for both drivers and pedestrians,” said Casey Taylor, YOVASO Program Development Coordinator. “This campaign is designed to keep all youth and teens safe as well as younger children who will be trick-or-treating on Halloween night.

Safety Tips for Teens to Follow on Halloween Night

  • Avoid driving during “Halloween Rush Hour” from 5:30-9 p.m. when children are trick–or-treating
  • Drive below the speed limit in residential neighborhoods and use alternate routes when possible
  • Scan ahead for trick-or-treaters and yield to pedestrians
  • Use caution around stopped vehicles in neighborhoods and proceed slowly.
  • Drive distraction-free
  • Celebrate responsibly and resist any peer pressure to celebrate Halloween with alcohol and/or drugs or to drive while impaired—it’s illegal
  • Do not ride with any drivers who may have used alcohol and/or drugs.
  • Be on the alert for drivers who could be under the influence of something other than sweets
  • Remember to always buckle up

Safety Tips for Youth to Follow for on Halloween Night

  • Avoid distractions and leave electronic devices at home while walking or biking
  • Wear reflective clothing
  • Carry a flashlight or glow stick
  • Walk on sidewalks when possible
  • Only trick-or-treat in well-lit neighborhoods
  • Older students should always travel in pairs or large groups and let parents know where you are going
  • Younger students should always trick or treat with a parent or adult supervision
  • Never approach a stranger’s car
  • Stay alert and Be Seen on Halloween in case motorists are not be watching out for you

To learn more or to register for the Halloween Safety Campaign, call Casey Taylor at 540-375-3596. Information about the campaign is also posted on the website at yovaso.org.

YOVASO is Virginia’s peer‐to‐peer education and prevention program for teen driver and passenger safety. Through YOVASO, teens work to advocate for safer driving among their peers and to develop positive prevention strategies for their schools and communities. The program, which currently has 106 active member schools across Virginia, is administered by the Virginia State Police and funded through a grant from the Virginia DMV Highway Safety Office. YOVASO also receives support from State Farm.

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