BEND, OR -- Halloween is consistently one of the top three days for pedestrian injuries and fatalities, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Experts say it’s partly due to the combination of increased pedestrian traffic, impaired driving and less daylight. Deschutes County Sheriff Shane Nelson says those aren’t the only factors that lead to serious crashes in the fall; "And there’s deer migration time, so you’re going to have animals in the roadway too, to add to the mix. The one thing I can say about driving is, if you slow down and take extra time you can’t go wrong with that." Wildlife-vehicle collisions peak this time of year. According to ODOT, Central Oregon has one of the highest animal-related crash rates in the state.
In Oregon, there were 10 fatal crashes on Halloween night, between 2006 and 2015; 70% involved impaired drivers. Last Halloween, there were none. Sheriff Nelson says aside from the fact there are just more people on the roads, shorter days are also a big factor. "There’s not a lot of ambient lighting out there in some of these situations. So, for drivers, you want to slow down; for parents who are going to take their kids trick or treating, have reflective materials on those costumes and provide them with flashlights, and LED lights and blinking lights, and have everything lit up." He tells KBND News, "Of course, it’s going to be a very dark night, you’ve got a lot of excited kids running around, maybe they don’t reflective material on their costumes; [it’s] very difficult to see until the last minute."