Thursday morning, DC Mayor Muriel Bowser (D) and Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) Chief Robert Contee spoke about the District’s public safety preparations ahead of Halloween weekend.
“We expect our nightlife corridors will be very busy with Halloween festivities this weekend,” Bowser said, emphasizing a need for caution throughout the weekend as well as on Monday, which is Halloween.
Bowser said in addition to situational awareness for individuals, families and children, slow, safe driving will be key to ensuring the safety of everyone in the community over the holiday weekend.
“One of our most important lessons is that as you are driving this weekend and on Monday, we need everyone to slow down and be extra vigilant and be looking for our young people, some of whom will be in costume,” Bowser said.
Contee echoed the Mayor’s concerns about traffic safety over the weekend and encouraged residents and visitors to use public transit and ride share especially if they plan on consuming alcohol.
“Nearly half of U.S. traffic fatalities during Halloween involve drunk drivers according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration,” said Kurt Erickson, President of the Washington Regional Alcohol Program (WRAP) in a press release. “Halloween is of particular concern for younger drivers as 2020 NHTSA data shows that 68-percent of drunk driving deaths on U.S. roadways during the fall holiday involve drivers ages 21 to 34.”
DC said MPD will be out in full force. “We have no tolerance for those who put our children and our communities at risk and our traffic and our impaired driving enforcement will be out in force looking for people who are drunk behind the wheel,” Contee said at the press conference.
Contee added that the multi-agency nightlife task force will be deployed to “help ensure people are enjoying the weekend in a safe manner.” He also noted that MPD will have a significant presence around the District, but emphasized the need for parents and children to take proper precautions.
“Our officers will be extra vigilant in our neighborhoods throughout the Halloween weekend, but it takes everyone to help,” Contee said.
To stay safe during Halloween festivities:
- Children trick-or-treating should be accompanied by an adult guardian
- Increase visibility of dark costumes by adding glow-sticks or flashing lights
- Ensure costumes fit well to avoid tripping hazards; choose makeup over masks so kids can see
- Do not cross streets at uncontrolled points
- Allow parents to inspect candy before eating
- Remember, open liquor is forbidden on District streets
- Do not drive while impaired –or even “buzzed”. Take advantage of Metro, Taxis and ride share (see Lyft ride deal below).
- Drive slowly and use caution; children are paying less attention than usual and may be harder to see.
- Take extra time to look for children at medians and intersections.
- Turn headlights on earlier in the evening to increase sightlines and vehicle visibility.
WRAP is partnering with Lyft for the 2022 Halloween SoberRide® program. It will be in operation from 4:00 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 29 until 4:00 a.m. Sunday, Oct 30. It’s one way to help keep local roads safe from impaired drivers during this traditionally high-risk period.
During this twelve-hour period, area residents age 21 and older celebrating with alcohol may download the Lyft app to their phones, then enter the SoberRide® code in the app’s “Payment” tab (under the “Add Lyft Pass” option) to receive their no-cost (up to $15) safe transportation home. WRAP’s 2022 Halloween SoberRide® promo code will be posted at 3:00 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 29 on www.SoberRide.com.
The Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) is hosting more than 30 Halloween events over the weekend and on Halloween. Parties, costume contests, sporting events and more will provide exciting and engaging activities for all ages, including adults. You can read more about the upcoming DPR events and sign up here.
MPD will also be hosting a variety of ‘Safe Haven’ Halloween events including Haunted Houses, Trunk or Treat events and fall festivals throughout the weekend. You can read more about these events here.
Sarah Payne is a general assignment reporter for Capital Community News. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.