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Final ‘Be Safe, Be Seen on Halloween’ warning — to help protect your little trick-or-treaters

Photo Credit: Cliffview Pilot File Photo
Photo Credit: Cliffview Pilot

PUBLIC SAFETY: Authorities are issuing last-minute warnings, reflective wristbands and reminders about trick-or-treating tonight, all in the hope that it will help protect your little ones.

“Pedestrian safety is a shared responsibility between those behind the wheel and those on their feet,” Division of Highway Traffic Safety Acting Director Gary Poedubicky said.

“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,” he said. “They also must stop and stay stopped for pedestrians crossing at crosswalks.”

At the same time, authorities say parents need to take steps to be sure their young ones — and they — remain safe.

That starts with:

A safety refresher can’t hurt

(a) making sure the reflective materials are part of costumes;

(b) crossing only at crosswalks when it is safe to do so.

A survey sponsored by Safe Kids Worldwide found that parents’ biggest fear for their children on Halloween was pedestrian injury — 31% — which polled higher than poisoning (24%) and abduction (15%).

Their concerns are well-placed: On average, more than 400 child pedestrians under the age of 15 are struck by motor vehicles in New Jersey every year.

Last year, six died.

Here’s the kicker: Twice as many children are killed in pedestrian/vehicle accidents on Halloween between 4-10 p.m. as compared to the same hours on other days throughout the year, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

Fort Lee’s police department is one of several throughout the area that participates in the “Be Safe, Be Seen on Halloween” campaign. School resources officers have distributed fluorescent drawstring back packs and glow sticks to youngsters.

The glow sticks, which are still available at most departments through tonight, are labeled “MAC136” in memory of Fair Lawn Police Officer Mary Ann Collura, who was killed in the line of duty in 2003.

Yes, you’re aware.

But just to be safe (pun intentional), be sure to:

  • Have your children wear light-colored or reflective clothing and/or have a reflective wristband or other attachment;
  • Be sure they can see clearly;
  • Give them each a flashlight, blinking lights and/or glow sticks;
  • Be sure a responsible adult is with them (best to take kids in groups);
  • Cross at intersections only;
  • Never cross between parked cars;
  • Before crossing, look left, right and left again, and listen for traffic;
  • Obey all traffic signs and signals;

SPECIAL NOTE: If there is no sidewalk available, walk as far off the roadway as possible on the side of the road, facing oncoming traffic.

DRIVERS — remember:

  • You MUST stop for pedestrians in crosswalks — otherwise, you’ll be fined $200 (plus court fees) and lose two points off your license;
  • Watch for pedestrians when turning on red;
  • Obey posted speed limits;
  • Don’t 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.

Now go have fun!

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