‘Deadliest Day’ for Child Pedestrian Fatalities



Two Decades of Data Reveal Risks Beyond the Candy

Kids have a greater chance of being fatally injured by a car on Halloween than any other day of the year, including the Fourth of July and New Year’s Day.

State Farm®, the nation’s leading auto insurer, teamed up with research expert, Bert Sperling of Sperling’s BestPlaces, to better understand the risk kids face as they take to the streets in search of treats.

Sperling’s BestPlaces analyzed more than four million records in the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) from 1990 – 2010 for children 0-18 years of age on Oct. 31.

That detailed analysis revealed the following:

  • Halloween was Deadliest Day of the Year for Child Pedestrian Accidents

One hundred and fifteen child pedestrian fatalities occurred on Halloween over the 21 years of our analysis. That is an average of 5.5 fatalities each year on Oct. 31, which is more than double the average number of 2.6 fatalities for other days.

  • The “Deadliest Hour”

Nearly one-fourth (26 out of 115) of accidents occurred from 6–7 p.m. More than 60 percent of the accidents occurred in the 4-hour period from 59 p.m.

  • Middle of the Block Most Hazardous

More than 70 of the accidents occurred away from an intersection or crosswalk.

  • Ages Most at Risk on Halloween

Most of the fatalities occurred with children ages 12-15 (32 percent of all child fatalities), followed by children ages 5-8 (23 percent.)

  • Drivers Who Posed the Greatest Risk

Young drivers, ages 15-25 years-old, accounted for nearly one-third of all fatal accidents involving child pedestrians on Halloween.

  • Drivers Who Posed the Lowest Risk

Drivers age 36-40 and 61-65 year-olds were involved in the fewest child pedestrian fatalities on Halloween. Together, these age groups accounted for nine child pedestrian fatalities (8 percent) in the 21 years of the study.

  • It Is Not All Bad News

Each of the last six years of the study (2005–2010) has seen Halloween child fatalities below the 21 year average of 5.5.

“State Farm wants children to be safe every day of the year whether they are inside or outside of a car,” says Kellie Clapper, assistant vice president of Public Affairs at State Farm. “The analysis of this data highlights the particular need for parents to be especially alert during Halloween.”

State Farm and Sperling’s BestPlaces encourage responsible driving every day of the year, and especially this Halloween as costumed children fill the streets.

If you must drive, avoid all distractions, turn off the radio, put down the smart phone, and be alert for the unexpected. Fully engaged drivers can make 2012 the year of zero child pedestrian fatalities.


Data from all fatal accidents was analyzed in the FARS systems for the most recent 21 years – 1990 to 2010.

More than four million records were analyzed during that period, tallying the number of pedestrian incidents (including bicycles, tricycles, and other conveyances) for children 0-18 years of age, on the day of Oct. 31.

The primary source of our data for the analysis is the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS.)

FARS is a data system conceived, designed, and developed by the National Center for Statistics and Analysis (NCSA) to assist the traffic safety community in identifying traffic safety problems and evaluating both motor vehicle safety standards and highway safety initiatives.

Fatality information derived from FARS includes motor vehicle traffic crashes that result in the death of an occupant of a vehicle or a non-motorist within 30 days of the crash.

FARS contains data on all fatal traffic crashes within the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico.

Halloween Auto Safety Tips:

While the following tips are helpful on any day, State Farm® encourages drivers to be especially alert on Halloween when the number of child pedestrian fatalities traditionally doubles*.

  • Be on alert for children running in between parked cars and crossing the street in the middle of the block.
  • Avoid tailgating. The car in front of you may be following along with children as they trick-or-treat.
  • Use your car’s hazard lights to alert other drivers if you are dropping off your children.
  • Avoid distractions while driving. Turn the radio off, put away the smart phone and pull over if you need to direct attention to kids in the back seat.
  • Remember to slow down, especially in residential areas.It’s not worth jeopardizing your safety or the safety of our children.
  • Leave early. From school and local park district activities to neighborhood and family parties, Halloween can be an action-packed day. Leave yourself plenty of time so you don’t have to rush. Ten or 15 extra minutes can make a big difference.
  • Encourage your children to carry a flashlight or wear reflective gear on their costume so they are more visible to people who are driving.

*State Farm, the nation’s leading auto insurer, teamed up with research expert, Bert Sperling of Sperling’s BestPlaces, to better understand the risks kids face as they take to the streets in search of Halloween treats. Analysis of 21 years of data reveals the risk of a fatal child pedestrian accident traditionally double on Oct. 31. More information about the findings from this analysis can be found at http://st8.fm/Halloween.


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