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Distracted driving is both costly and dangerous, especially on Halloween

News: 2013 Press Release

For Release: October 30, 2013
Media Calls Only: 916-492-3566
Distracted driving is both costly and dangerous, especially on Halloween
California leads the nation in pedestrian auto fatalities

SACRAMENTO, Calif. - As the days get shorter and darkness bookends the morning and evening commutes, Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones reminds drivers to exercise caution and keep their eyes on the road to avoid accidents.

California leads the nation in pedestrian fatalities with 599 in 2010 (most current stats available). Last week three pedestrians were killed in one 12-hour period in Sacramento. Roughly 70 percent of vehicle accidents involving pedestrians occur at night. In California the number of pedestrian deaths often increases dramatically on Halloween. Motorists must use extra caution while driving on the busiest night of the year for pedestrian traffic.

"Both motorists and pedestrians need to be extra cautious on and around Halloween," said Jones. "Drivers who find themselves distracted while behind the wheel on this holiday are at an increased risk for an accident. Motorists must keep their eyes on the road and remember their responsibility when behind the wheel. Pedestrians should protect themselves by wearing bright or reflective clothing and being aware of the activity around them."

For trick-or-treaters and drivers, taking the following preventive measures can reduce the chances of injury or having to file an insurance claim:

  • Since children often trick-or-treat after dark, drivers need to use caution in residential areas, and watch for people darting from between parked cars and across the street.
  • If you are on a bicycle, wear a helmet, fit it properly, wear light or reflective clothing, and add lights and reflectors on your bike.
  • Avoid walking in the street. Use sidewalks where possible, use extra caution when crossing the street, and always use marked crosswalks.
  • If you are using a portable music device or mobile phone, do not block your hearing by wearing earphones in both ears; leave one side without an ear piece, so you can hear approaching traffic, warnings and emergency vehicles.
  • Plan your route ahead, stay on well-lit streets and avoid high-traffic areas, such as busy streets and shortcuts through alleys or yards.
  • If you are involved in a collision, don't leave the scene until you are sure no one is injured and needs medical care and insurance information is exchanged between all parties.

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Media Notes:

Statistics based on 2010 traffic safety data (the most current available) from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration published in August 2012.

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The California Department of Insurance, established in 1868, is the largest consumer protection agency in California, regulating the $123 billion insurance marketplace. In 2013 the California Department of Insurance received more than 170,000 calls from consumers and helped recover over $63 million in claims and premiums. Please visit the Department of Insurance web site at www.insurance.ca.gov. Non-media inquiries should be directed to the Consumer Hotline at 800.927.HELP or 213.897.8921. Telecommunications Devices for the Deaf (TDD), please dial 800.482.4833.

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