Avoiding Tragedy on Halloween

Last weekend, my wife and I took our two kids shopping for Halloween costumes. In just over a week, my kids, along with thousands of others, will fill the streets and sidewalks in their hunt for candy. Memories of trick-or-treating can be some of the best for both children and adults. However, not all memories of Halloween are positive.

Every year, a tragic number of trick-or-treaters are hit by cars or trucks. For example, just a few years ago, two teenage girls were struck by a car while trick-or-treating in West Jordan. http://archive.sltrib.com/article.php?id=17768791&itype=storyID.

Even though adults driving cars and individuals walking in the street are excited about Halloween, there are important safety rules that must be followed in order to avoid a tragic ending to the holiday. The best way to avoid tragedy is to use common sense and caution at all times when driving or walking on or across a road. Below are a couple of rules to keep in mind.

For trick-or-treaters (pedestrians):

  • If there is a sidewalk you should use it; do not walk in the road!Utah Code § 41-6a-1009(1).
  • If there is not a sidewalk, you should be on the shoulder as far away from the road as possible.Utah Code 41-6a-1009(2).
  • You should not run or dart across the street ever, especially when cars are nearby.Utah Code § 41-6a-1002(1)(a).
  • You are required to obey all traffic-control devices specifically applicable to you.Utah Code § 41-6a-1001.
  • If you cross in the middle of a block, you are required to yield the right of way to vehicles operating properly on the street.Utah Code § 41-6a-1003(2); Utah Code § 41-6a-1009(6).
  • You should only cross the street at designated crosswalks and street corners.

For drivers:

  • When pulling and/or backing out of your driveway, you are required to stop your vehicle immediately prior to crossing the sidewalk and check your surroundings.Utah Code § 41-6a-907; Utah Code § 41-6a-1008
  • You are required to yield the right of way to pedestrians in the crosswalk.Utah Code § 41-6a-1002(1)(a)
  • You are required at all times to operate the vehicle with care to avoid colliding with a pedestrian, especially when you observe a child near the road.Utah Code 41-6a-1006(1)(a), (c).

At Eisenberg, Gilchrist, & Cutt, we frequently represent pedestrians injured by motor vehicles.If you or someone you care about are injured by a car while walking, please call us today for a free consultation at (801) 901-3470.

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