Police boost patrols for Halloween

PARKERSBURG – This Halloween, Mid-Ohio Valley law enforcement agencies will be out in numbers enforcing drunken driving laws with an aggressive Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over enforcement effort.

“We want to remind partygoers to keep the party off the road. The scariest part of Halloween is not the spooky costumes and scary pranks; it’s the impaired drivers. All too often, partygoers don’t plan ahead and choose to drive impaired, but a costume can’t disguise drunk driving,” said Toni Tiano with the Mid-Ohio Valley Regional Highway Safety Program.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, from 2007-2011, 52 percent of all national fatalities occurring on Halloween night involved a drunken driver.

In 2011, when Halloween fell on a Monday, 44 percent of the nation’s fatalities during the Halloween weekend occurred in a crash involving a driver or a motorcycle operator with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 percent or higher.

Thirty-eight percent of fatalities on Halloween night occurred in a crash involving a driver or a motorcycle operator with a BAC of 0.08 percent or higher.

Young men are particularly at risk of being involved in a traffic crash as a result of “buzzed,” or drunken driving, Tiano said. Males ages 21-34 comprised almost half of all drunken drivers killed in motor vehicle traffic crashes nationwide during the 2011 Halloween period.

“If you celebrate with alcohol, you don’t belong behind the wheel,” Tiano said. “A sober and safe ride after the party is the best treat you can give yourself and everyone else on the road this Halloween.”

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Safety Tips

* Before the Halloween festivities begin, plan a way to safely get home at the end of the night.

* Always designate a sober driver.

* If you are impaired, take a taxi, call a sober friend or family member, or use public transportation.

* Walking impaired can be just as dangerous as drunken driving. Designate a sober friend to walk you home.

* If you see a drunken driver on the road, contact local law enforcement.

* If you know someone who is about to drive or ride while impaired, take his keys and help the person make safe travel arrangements.