CHARLESTON, WV — Halloween is a beloved holiday tradition in America, with millions of people, young and old, working on their best costumes and gearing up for a night of candy and festivities. The evening also comes with parties and get-togethers, as well as an increase in drunk drivers on the roads.
To help spread the message that Buzzed Driving Is Drunk Driving, the West Virginia Governor’s Highway Safety Program (GHSP) is teaming up with the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to remind everyone of the dangers of drunk driving.
Drivers should be extra cautious on Halloween and Trick-or-Treat nights, as more pedestrians are out at night on the hunt for candy. If your night involves alcohol, plan for a sober ride home. Remember: It’s never safe to drink and drive.
- During Halloween night (6 p.m. October 31 to 5:59 a.m. November 1) during the years 2017-2021, there were 159 people killed in drunk-driving crashes.
- In 2021, 38 people were killed on Halloween night in drunk-driving crashes, a decrease from the 58 people killed on Halloween night in 2020.
- Adults between the ages of 21 and 34 had the highest percentage (55%) of fatalities in drunk-driving crashes on Halloween night in 2021.
- Approximately one-third of all traffic crash fatalities in the United States involve drunk drivers (with BACs at or above .08 g/dL). In 2021, there were 13,384 people killed in drunk-driving crashes.
- Nationally, it is illegal to drive with a BAC of .08 g/dL or higher, except in Utah, where the limit is .05 g/dL.
- Although it is illegal to drive when impaired by alcohol, in 2021, one person was killed every 39 minutes in a drunk-driving crash on our nation’s roads.
- The rate of alcohol impairment among drivers involved in fatal crashes in 2021 was 2.8 times higher at night than during the day.
- Males are more likely than females to be driving drunk when involved in fatal crashes. In 2021, 22% of males were drunk, compared to 17% of females.
“Even though Halloween is on a Tuesday this year, we know there will be more parties, events, and get-togethers during the week leading up to and throughout the weekend. We want those who celebrate with adult beverages to plan a sober ride home in advance,” said Amy Boggs, GHSP Occupant Protection Coordinator.
“Even one drink can impair judgment. The same is true for any illegal drug or certain prescription medications. You should never put yourself or others at risk because you made the wrong choice to drink and drive. Remember: Buzzed Driving Is Drunk Driving,” Boggs said.
Drivers should also keep an eye out for pedestrians — whether they be children trick-or-treating or adults who have had too much to drink. Walking while intoxicated can also be deadly, as lack of attention to their surroundings could put pedestrians at risk of getting hit by a vehicle.
“Of course, we want people to have a fun night out on Halloween. But more importantly, we want people to be safe and make responsible choices,” Boggs continued. “There are many options available today to help drivers get home safely if they’ve been drinking or using drugs. We expect drivers to be responsible and refrain from driving after consuming an impairing substance.”
“The bottom line is: If You Feel Different, You Drive Different. Get a sober ride home and keep all road users safe this Halloween,” concluded Boggs.
Celebrate with a Plan
If you plan to head out for a night of Halloween partying, follow these simple tips for a safe and happy evening:
- Remember that it is never okay to drink and drive. Even if you’ve had only one alcoholic beverage, designate a sober driver or plan to use public transportation or a ride service to get home safely.
- If one is available, use your community’s sober ride program or a taxi.
- If you see a drunk driver on the road, contact local law enforcement.
- Do you have a friend who is about to drink and drive? Take the keys away and make arrangements to get your friend home safely.
Always remember: Buzzed Driving Is Drunk Driving. For more information, visit www.nhtsa.gov/risky-driving/drunk-driving.