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Halloween on a Saturday is bad omen for roadways, authorities say

ST. PAUL -- Law enforcement across Minnesota will be trick-or-treating for impaired drivers on Halloween weekend -- a serious concern for agencies as Halloween falls on a Saturday, likely causing an increased number of revelers. Halloween celebrants are encouraged to have a plan for a safe and sober ride.

During Minnesota Halloween party weekends from 2006 to 2008, seven of the 15 traffic deaths were alcohol-related. Another 40 people were seriously injured in crashes -- 15 were alcohol-related. During this period, 1,487 motorists were arrested for driving while impaired.

"Our biggest fear on Halloween weekend is impaired drivers," says Captain Matt Langer of the Minnesota State Patrol. "This presents a threatening scenario that law enforcement will combat with DWI patrols."

The Minnesota Department of Public Safety urges Minnesotans to have a plan for a safe ride home before indulging: designate a sober driver, use alternative or public transportation, or stay the night at the location of the celebration.

The Department of Public Safety also emphasizes the importance of pedestrian safety on Halloween. Treat-seekers and parents should review basic pedestrian rules -- cross at intersections or marked crosswalks, use flashlights and reflective wear, and never dart in front of traffic. Motorists should reduce speeds and remain alert at all times.

-- Staff reports