A Real Safety Issue: Traffic
It appears that the dangers associated with urban legends such as poisoned candy, razor blades in apples, and satanic rituals are overblown and largely overestimated. The lack of evidence for these urban legends does not, of course, imply that parents and caregivers should be unconcerned about safety issues when children are allowed to trick-or-treat. Some aspects of trick-or-treating may be dangerous, and it has been indicated that the most serious of these is probably traffic. Part of the problem is the presence of drunk drivers. In 1998, for example, more than 20% of all fatalities that occurred during that Halloween weekend were alcohol-related. Adult drinking and driving is not the only culprit, however; factors such as dark costumes which are difficult for drivers to see are also part of the problem, and kids often are easily excitable on Halloween and perhaps as a result more likely to impulsively run out into traffic. Many young children aren’t ready to handle street crossing by themselves and frequently overestimate how quickly they can cross over to the other side of a street.
In compiling data from Halloween-related traffic fatalities from 1975 through 1996, the Centers for Disease Control, the Division of Unintentional Injury Prevention, and the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control reported that, for children ages 5–14, an average of four deaths per year occurred during peak trick-or-treat evening hours, whereas an average of one death occurred in this age group per year on every other day of the year. An addendum to the report “warns the figure may be low, since it does not include accidents that occur in driveways, parking lots and on sidewalks, nor does it include data beyond 10 PM or from another day”.
Ultimately, it would appear that sadists or satanists are not nearly as much a threat to children on Halloween as are cars, trucks, and SUVs.
These figures suggest that the likelihood of a child becoming involved in a fatal accident is only slightly higher on Halloween than on any other day. Although the death of even one child in a traffic accident is one too many, the realization that such accidents remain extremely rare can hopefully provide some needed comfort — and perspective — to frequently anxious parents and caregivers concerned about their children’s safety on Halloween.
Drunk Driving Penalties in Florida
If you drink alcohol and operate a vehicle, you dramatically increase your chance of being involved in an auto accident. In addition, if you are pulled over and the officer asks you to take a blood, urine or breath test you are required to comply. Florida has the “Implied Consent Law“. When you sign your drivers license you have agreed to take these tests upon request. Refusal to take any of the tests will result in an immediate suspension for one year. A second refusal will result in an 18 month suspension.
Florida DUI Stats
The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles issued Traffic Crash Statistics Report 2010. According to the Compilation of Motor Vehicle Crash Data From the Florida Crash Records Database, the following alcohol-related crash statistics are true for 2009 and 2010.
|Pending Fatal Blood Alcohol Content (BAC)
|Alcohol-related fatal crashes
|Alcohol-related injury crashes
- After Miami-Dade(1588) and Broward Counties(1424), Hillsborough County had the third highest (1363) incidence of alcohol related crashes in 2010.
- In 2010, Hillsborough County had 54 alcohol-related fatality crashes, 2nd to Orange County with 62 alcohol-related fatalities.
Florida law mandates that any driver convicted of a second DUI have an Ignition Interlock device installed in their vehicle. A judge may order an Interlock installed on first convictions depending on circumstances. Read the details of the Florida Ignition Interlock program.
No one can drink alcohol and still drive safely. Drinking and driving causes accidents and deaths every day and therefore the penalties in Florida are very tough. If you drink and drive the result may be jail time, loss of your Florida drivers license, heavy fines, and much higher auto insurance rates. And a conviction will stay on your Florida driving record for 75 years.
Zero Tolerance for Drivers under 21
Florida has a Zero Tolerance law for drivers under 21. This means that any driver under 21 that is stopped by law enforcement and has a blood alcohol level of .02 or higher will automatically have their Florida drivers license suspended for 6 months. The .02 limit really means that you cannot have a single drink and drive. And that’s the idea.
For drivers over 21 the legal limit in Florida is .08. Regardless of your age be aware that drinking and driving is considered a serious offense. Below we have summarized the penalties in the state of Florida for a first offense DUI, but the average cost including legal defense, fines, and auto insurance increases is $8000.
Florida Penalties for DUI First Conviction
- Fine – $250 to $500
- Community Service – 50 Hours
- Probation – Not more than 1 Year
- Imprisonment – Not more than 6 Months
- Imprisonment with BAL of .08 or higher with a minor in the vehicle, not more than 9 months
- License Revocation – Minimum of 180 days
- DUI School – 12 Hours
Addtional DUI Convictions
The penalties listed above are for a first DUI conviction. With each additional DUI conviction the penalties in Florida are more severe. Complete details on Florida DUI penalties can be found in the Florida drivers manual.