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Be on the lookout for increased Halloween pedestrian traffic

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ST. PAUL, Minn. – Increased pedestrian traffic throughout Halloween afternoon and evening hours means drivers must be particularly mindful to scan streets and intersections for trick-or-treaters and their parents.

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Shorter days mean morning and evening rush hours are darker. This makes it much more difficult for drivers to see pedestrians and requires pedestrians to ensure drivers see them before crossing.

October was the deadliest month for pedestrians from 2007-2011, followed by December and November.

Preliminary data from that Minnesota Department of Public Safety show that 27 pedestrians to date have been killed on Minnesota roads in 2012, compared to 22 at this time in 2011. This includes two pedestrian fatalities so far in October 2012, compared to six in October 2011, seven in October 2010 and five in October 2009.

Halloween safety tips for drivers:

- Slowdown in residential neighborhoods and school zones.

- Scan the road and sides of the road ahead for pedestrians.

- Look carefully behind your vehicle, especially for small children, before backing up.

- Avoid distractions—put away the cell phones.

Halloween safety tips for parents and children:

- Make eye contact with drivers and ensure they see you and will stop before stepping into the road.

- Cross the street in well-lit areas.

- Wear bright-colored clothing and reflective material or carry a flashlight.

- Cross streets at corners, not mid-block.

- Walk on sidewalks or pathways. If there are no sidewalks, walk facing traffic as far to the left as possible.

The Minnesota Department of Transportation and several partners launched a statewide Share the Road pedestrian safety campaign in September. All materials, information and campaign resources, including crash facts and safety tips, are available at www.sharetheroadmn.org.

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