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Adults urged to help keep Halloween safe for kids

October 28, 2003|by BRIAN SHAPPELL

shappell@herald-mail.com

The State Highway Administration and AAA Mid-Atlantic are urging motorists to slow down this Halloween and parents to teach their children about pedestrian safety to avoid collision during trick-or-treat hours.

As an extra precaution, the State Highway Administration is allowing people to borrow reflective vests, without cost, to place over children's costumes.

State Highway Administration spokeswoman Adrienne Cousler said Washington County residents will be able to pick up the vests between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m., Wednesday through Friday, at its area site - 18320 Col. Henry K. Douglas Drive, near Interstate 70 and Md. 65.

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"We ask that, since they're borrowed out, people bring them back in a timely manner," Cousler said.

Cousler said this is the ninth year the SHA is distributing the "Vests for Visibility," as well as reflective trick-or- treat bags. The vests are in high demand and are available on a first-come, first-served basis.

"When they're gone, they're gone," Cousler said. "We've never had a response like we've had this year. It's great because it means we are getting our message out."

Cousler said she hopes parents will take the opportunity this week to teach their kids about pedestrian safety.

"We want the trick-or-treaters to be safe," she said.

An average of four deaths occur nationally on Halloween between 4 and 10 p.m., according to AAA Mid-Atlantic.

John White, AAA Mid-Atlantic manager of public and government relations, said many accidents are caused each year because excited trick-or-treaters dart into the roadways in neighborhoods with which they are not familiar.

"On Halloween, we put children in situations where you can't see them - that leads to accidents," White said. "We hope parents will prevent darting out into the street in their excitement of going from house to house."

White said many children are out getting treats during the evening rush hour, while many motorists with kids may be rushing home to get their children ready for Halloween festivities.

"Everyone's kind of moving at a fast pace on Halloween," White said. "We just want people to slow down and think about what is in front of them."

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