Target Zero asks drivers to be aware of pedestrians, especially on Halloween

Sean Donaldson of the Vancouver Police Department holds up a Target Zero reflective wrist band that reminds pedestrians to “See and be seen,” important advice prior to Halloween. Photo by Paul Valencia
Sean Donaldson of the Vancouver Police Department holds up a Target Zero reflective wrist band that reminds pedestrians to “See and be seen,” important advice prior to Halloween. Photo by Paul Valencia

Drivers should be on alert on Monday night, while trick-or-treaters should do their best to be visible

Halloween should be scary fun, not scary serious.

That is one of the reasons that Target Zero is emphasizing the importance of drivers being alert for pedestrians on Monday night and pedestrians should do their best to remain visible to all motorists.

“If you are driving in a neighborhood, where you know kids are going to be out, slow down and be alert,” said Sean Donaldson of the Vancouver Police Department. “Kids are unpredictable, especially small kids. They will dart out into traffic. They get away from their parents and they run out in front of cars. Be aware of that as a driver.”

Some free advice: Treat neighborhoods as school zones on Halloween. No need to even go as fast as 25 mph on busy pedestrian nights.

Pedestrians can help their cause, as well.

Donaldson said children could be in bright costumes, or at the very least, wear glow sticks around their wrists and ankles. Parents walking with their children can wear reflective vests and carry flashlights.

“Most importantly, if you are going to be trick or treating in a larger neighborhood or cross busy roads, make sure you are using crosswalks or lighted intersections,” Donaldson said. “Don’t just run across the street.”

Target Zero is a data-based plan implemented by government organizations in Washington with the goal of having zero traffic deaths and serious injuries on Washington’s roadways by 2030. The program hopes to educate drivers on becoming safer behind the wheel.

This Halloween, the emphasis is on being aware of pedestrians. According to Target Zero, pedestrian fatalities increase as car speed increases. Driving slowly through neighborhoods at any time of the year, and especially on a night like Halloween, is crucial. Nine of out 10 pedestrians struck by vehicles going 20 mph survive. 

Law enforcement officers such as Donaldson say distracted driving is always a problem, but that does not always mean using a cell phone, for example.

“We have a lot of distractions in our life. Whether it’s the radio in the car, passengers in the car, or your own thoughts,” Donaldson said. “Maybe you’re thinking about work, or thinking about family, or what you are having for dinner that night. Drawing that back and just being aware you are driving a vehicle and you have to be aware of where you are going and what’s in front of you … that’s very important.”

Donaldson and his colleagues responded to a car-pedestrian collision earlier this month.

“It’s very traumatic. It was really sad,” Donaldson said. “People not paying attention, driving too fast, driving impaired, and a lot of times, they don’t even see the pedestrian. It’s very tough to respond to something like that.”

For pedestrians, Donaldson emphasized again the importance of using crosswalks or lighted intersections. He has seen too many people cross a dark road when a crosswalk is just a matter of feet away from them.

“Use them,” Donaldson said of crosswalks. “They can save their own lives by walking 20 feet down the road.”

Law enforcement officials and Target Zero are hoping for a safe Halloween on Monday. With no issues between pedestrians and motor vehicles.

“I love Target Zero,” Donaldson said of the campaign. “We want to get to that goal of zero fatalities, zero serious injuries on our roadways. I think it’s possible one day. We all have to be sober, we all have to be alert, and we all have to be safe drivers. When we get to that point, I think people will see a reduction in serious injuries and deaths that are caused by crashes.”

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