“Trick or treat?” Children exuberantly ask this question as they appear at doorways all over North America on the last night of October. Ages ago, when the tradition began, the question harboured a veiled menace: if you don’t give me a treat, I will play a trick on you! In today’s British Columbia neighbourhoods, treats are automatically offered, piled high near the door. Meanwhile, the hidden menace remains, embodied in the potential of a child victim of a car accident.
There is no dearth of warnings from local authorities about holiday driving and how much more care must be taken and how the increased traffic volume promotes the possibility of a car accident. Because it only lasts one night, Halloween is unique among holiday periods. Importantly, that one night celebrates the imagination of children as they explore the realm of ghosts and goblins and things that go bump in the night. It is left to adults when accompanying often over-excited youngsters along dark streets or driving along those same streets to be vigilant of their safety.
According to the ICBC, traffic incidents increase by 25 per cent on Halloween. It’s a statistic fearsome to ponder when pedestrian traffic on that night is comprised primarily of children. Across British Columbia, 920 traffic crashes on Halloween amount to 330 persons being injured — in one night. Now that’s a frightening thought.
If a child is injured in a car accident on Halloween, British Columbia law does not regard adult accompaniment as a fail-safe. The court is more likely to consider the degree of care, or lack thereof, shown by a driver who strikes down a trick-or-treating child. While the well-being and lives of everyone, not just children, are precious in the eyes of the courts, an experienced personal injury lawyer might assist in quantifying any damages accruing from such a tragic car accident, and help safeguard Halloween’s reputation in British Columbia as a safe night for children for years to come.
Source: surreynowleader.com, “ICBC says 25 per cent more traffic crashes on Halloween“, Tom Zytaruk, Oct. 24, 2017