AUSTIN – The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) is urging parents, drivers and children to make safety a top priority during their Halloween plans. Everyone can avoid a variety of potential dangers by adhering to basic safety practices and using extra caution in areas where trick-or-treaters will be celebrating.
“DPS is reminding drivers to slow down and avoid distractions this Halloween as trick-or-treaters of various ages will be out celebrating. It is especially important for motorists to watch for children who may unexpectedly dart into the roadway without checking for oncoming traffic,” said DPS Director Steven McCraw. “Parents are also urged to take simple but important precautions to help keep their children safe if they plan to participate in Halloween festivities.”
DPS offers the following safety tips for drivers:
- Don’t drink and drive. Designate a sober driver or take a cab.
- Stay alert. Eliminate distractions, including the use of mobile devices.
- Slow down, and further reduce speeds in bad weather, heavy traffic and construction areas.
Texans are also reminded of these important Halloween safety tips:
- Always monitor weather forecasts before heading out and make plans accordingly.
- Look both ways before crossing roadways, and always walk, don’t run.
- Cross the roadway at intersections and crosswalks.
- Travel in groups with adult supervision and in neighborhoods you are familiar with.
- Carry a flashlight or glow sticks.
- Do not enter the cars or homes of strangers, and avoid homes with porch lights turned off.
- Make sure children know their home phone number and how to call 911 or their local emergency number in case they have an emergency or become lost.
- Take all treats home for an adult to inspect before eating anything, and never eat candy obtained without a wrapper.
Individuals should also follow these tips when selecting a costume:
- Avoid toy guns and knives – they could easily be mistaken for a real weapon.
- Wear costumes that are light in color or place reflective material on the costume, so drivers can see you.
- Avoid using masks, if possible, to allow for better visibility and peripheral vision.
When planning a trick-or-treat route, parents may visit the Texas Public Sex Offender Registry, which includes a mapping function, to check for offenders who may be living in their neighborhood.
Parents can also check the Texas Public Sex Offender Registry by downloading the free DPS mobile app, which is currently available for iPhone users on the Apple App Store and for Android users on Google Play. The app provides interactive and easy-to-use maps for searching registered sex offenders by location, name, route and proximity. To see a demonstration of how to search by route using the DPS app, watch this video.
Individuals can also report suspicious or criminal activity to local authorities or through the free iWatchTexas mobile app (available for iPhone users andAndroid users); online at iwatchtx.org; or by calling 1-844-643-2251. If a situation requires emergency response, call 911.