Protecting Pedestrians During Halloween, Pedestrian Safety Month

October 26 2023 | Personal Injury Lawyer Blog
  • October is Pedestrian Safety Month and Halloween Time. Learn how to Prevent Personal Injuries.

    As the air grows cooler and autumn approaches, kids and adults alike are eagerly preparing their costumes and anticipating a night full of spooky spectacles. But amidst the array of fabricated frights on Halloween, a genuine concern emerges about the risk of pedestrian injuries caused by reckless drivers. Neighborhoods throughout Kentucky and Tennessee will soon see their streets filled with families going door-to-door for trick-or-treating. The increased numbers of pedestrians in the streets, crosswalks, and sidewalks can lead to dangerous situations and safety hazards. It’s not just the increased number of ghouls and goblins in the streets that make this time of year particularly dangerous for pedestrians, though. In fact, the entire month of October is marked as Pedestrian Safety Month, and based on recent trends, the designation is desperately needed. In this blog, we will delve into why October is so dangerous for pedestrians, what hazards should be avoided, and the state laws and regulations surrounding pedestrians. We’ll also discuss what legal avenues are available to pedestrians who are injured and how our experienced pedestrian injury lawyers in Kentucky and our Tennessee injury attorneys can help obtain compensation for those who have been harmed.


    Pedestrian Injuries Increase in October

    Unfortunately, in 2021, the month of October had more pedestrian fatalities than any other month in the year, accounting for 11% of the annual fatalities across the nation. Additionally, 2021 had one of the highest annual records of pedestrian fatalities, with 7,388 individuals killed in the United States – an increase of 13% from 2020 and an increase of 80% since reaching the lowest number in 2009. These scary statistics help show why the entire month of October is designated as Pedestrian Safety Month.

    This national trend also carries over to specific states. October and most other months later in the year often see a spike in pedestrian injuries and fatalities. This is likely attributed to the days getting shorter. As the number of daylight hours dwindle, the lack of visibility impacts drivers’ ability to see their surroundings, increasing the chance of striking a pedestrian. In a 2021 study of Kentucky car accidents, October had the highest number of both collisions and fatal collisions.

    Pedestrian injuries and fatalities in Tennessee are also grim. Nashville personal injuries are also common during this time, with A 2023 study placing the city as the second most dangerous city in the country for pedestrians, with fatality rates continuing to rise.


    Halloween Risks to Pedestrians

    Halloween poses specific dangers for all pedestrians, but even more so for young children. The combination of low visibility, excited kids, and reckless drivers means parents and guardians need to stay vigilant against potential threats.

    As dusk and dark approach, small children or those dressed in darker clothing may become harder to see for drivers, even in communities that are well-lit. In addition, a child in a mask or costume that obscures their vision may fail to see oncoming traffic and step directly into danger, leaving little time for the driver to react. Halloween parties also typically bring alcohol, and with alcohol comes those who will drive under the influence, further endangering pedestrians.

    Trick-or-treaters and their guardians can avoid horror on Halloween by making simple adjustments to enhance safety.


    1. Costumes: Consider costumes that are bright, reflective, or have glow-in-the-dark features to help make children easier to spot. You can also equip their costume and candy bag with reflectors, glow sticks, or LED lights to attract further attention to them. If your child’s costume obscures their vision or presents a potential tripping hazard, make further modifications to ensure they don’t fall.
    2. Make a plan: Plan your route in advance, and consider going to larger community events, such as trunk-or-treats or areas where streets will be temporarily blocked to traffic.
    3. Watch where you walk: In the modern age, we see more and more children who fail to pay attention to their surroundings due to cell phone use. Encourage your child to put away the phone, especially when crossing the street. As always, look both ways, use crosswalks, and obey all traffic signals.


    Drivers also play a significant role in keeping pedestrians safe. To explore this topic further, we met with Andrew Coleman, an attorney with Hughes & Coleman and father of two young girls, to discuss Halloween and pedestrian safety. Andrew spoke with us about the importance of exercising extreme caution while driving during Halloween, and how one of the most important things the public can do is to recognize the dangers associated with it. When it comes to getting behind the wheel during Halloween, he suggests, “Just be safe when you’re driving. Make sure to check your crosswalks and for pedestrians on the sidewalk. It’s better to be slow and cautious than potentially cause a hazardous situation.”

    Additional reading:

    7 Safety Tips for Pedestrian Safety Month


    Kentucky and Tennessee Pedestrian Laws

    Drivers in Kentucky and Tennessee have a legal obligation to exercise caution while behind the wheel and obey traffic laws. Failing to do so can lead to criminal charges as well as lawsuits. Committing a hit-and-run on top of injuring or killing a pedestrian will land most drivers in serious legal trouble.

    A negligent or reckless driver who harms a pedestrian may be subject to penalties such as fines, license suspension, traffic citations, and even imprisonment. Additionally, they may be held financially responsible for the injured pedestrian’s medical expenses, pain and suffering, and other losses.

    Kentucky law dictates that pedestrians should obey traffic control signals and use crosswalks when available. Pedestrians crossing a roadway at a point other than within a marked crosswalk or within an unmarked crosswalk at an intersection should yield to vehicles. They are also prohibited from suddenly leaving a curb or other place of safety to walk into the path of a vehicle or create a hazard.

    However, every operator of a vehicle must exercise due care to avoid hitting a pedestrian. Drivers are also expected to yield the right-of-way to pedestrians on sidewalks to blind pedestrians.

    Laws for pedestrians in Tennessee are similar to those in Kentucky. Pedestrians must yield to vehicles on the road when outside of a marked or unmarked crosswalk and use sidewalks when available. Drivers are required to exercise due care to avoid colliding with any pedestrian, operate their vehicle safely, and yield right-of-way to pedestrians in crosswalks, alleyways, and school zones.

    Both Kentucky and Tennessee prohibit drivers from overtaking other vehicles stopped at crosswalks for pedestrians. Overtaking and passing another vehicle that has stopped to allow a pedestrian to pass is incredibly dangerous, and doing so could lead to serious repercussions.


    Compensation for Kentucky and Tennessee Pedestrian Injuries

    When a reckless driver collides with a pedestrian, the victim often sustains severe or fatal injuries. Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), broken bones, spinal cord injuries, paralysis, and internal injuries are all common for pedestrians who have been struck by vehicles. In addition to physical injuries sustained, victims tend to also endure emotional turmoil and trauma associated from the incident itself and the physical pain felt from their injuries. Those who are harmed due to another driver’s negligent behavior can be entitled to compensation for their medical bills, their lost wages, and their pain and suffering. Due to the severity and likelihood of lifelong complications stemming from a pedestrian injury, some victims may be able to obtain compensation for future medical expenses, lost earning potential, and other long-term expenses that are anticipated.


    Pedestrian Injuries: A Frightening Trend

    Hauntings, hijinks, and other Halloween festivities should be the most a family needs to worry about in October. However, recent trends showing increasing numbers of pedestrian injuries and deaths necessitate extra caution during the fall season.

    Pedestrian accidents in Kentucky and Tennessee are a terrifying reality. However, these frightening tragedies are preventable, and both drivers and pedestrians need to be aware of their responsibilities as well as the laws that apply to them. If you or a loved one have been the victim of a pedestrian accident due to a driver’s negligence, the experienced pedestrian injury attorneys at Hughes & Coleman Injury Lawyers are here to provide legal guidance and support. Our pedestrian injury legal team is dedicated to helping accident victims seek justice and compensation for their injuries. We can work to obtain medical records, surveillance footage of the incident, schedule medical appointments with your healthcare provider, and do what it takes to get you on the road to recovery. We’ll build the strongest case possible for your pedestrian injury case and get the compensation you deserve so you can focus on healing.

    As we close out Pedestrian Safety Month, we urge pedestrians and drivers, monsters, and motorists alike, to stay vigilant! A pedestrian accident only takes a second, but the consequences can last a lifetime. By following basic safety precautions, obeying traffic laws, and practicing safe driving and pedestrian habits, we can help make serious pedestrian injuries a nightmare of the past.

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