Alexandria is asking local drivers to be particularly mindful of safe driving this week as children, who may not adhere as closely to regulations as adults, take to the streets to trick or treat.
While traditional trick or treating has been discouraged this year in light of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, it’s still likely that this weekend will see a noticeable uptick of children on city streets. City Council declared this week as “Pedestrian Safety Awareness Week” in early October in light of the potential risk.
“The last week of October and the first weekend of November coincides with Halloween and children are considered vulnerable road users that are more severely affected by crashes,” the city said in a proclamation, “and November 1st is when Day Light Savings ends, and sunset arrives an hour earlier during Standard Time.”
There is also a new law in Virginia for drivers to bear in mind.
“Alexandria Families for Safe Streets and the Alexandria Police Department want to remind drivers about a recent Virginia Traffic Law that requires drivers to stop for pedestrians at crosswalks, instead of just yielding,” said Mike Doyle, founding member of Alexandria Families For Safe Streets. “Drivers must come to a full stop for pedestrians in any marked and unmarked crosswalks and remain stopped until the pedestrian passes your vehicle is stopped at a crosswalk, the driver of any other approaching vehicle may not pass the stopped vehicle.”
According to the proclamation, there were 184 vehicle/pedestrian crashes in Alexandria between 2017 and 2019, with 20 serious injuries to pedestrians and 8 pedestrians killed. Crashes have been more likely to occur in the fall and winter months as a result of the shorter days and inclement weather.
Staff photo by Jay Westcott