LOS ANGELES, Calif. (FOX 11 / CNS) - With Halloween a day away, police are encouraging everyone to avoid putting themselves and others at risk by drinking and driving.
"Halloween should be a fun night for kids and adults,'' Sergeant Jimmie Pitts of the El Monte Police Department said. "By planning ahead, abiding by the rules of the road and driving sober, everyone can enjoy a safe night out.''
Halloween night has seen an increase in drunk-driving related crashes, including a total of 168 drunk-driving deaths across the nation on Halloween night between 2012 and 2016, according to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. More than 40 percent of of all people killed in crashes on Halloween night were in accidents involving a drunk driver.
Drivers between 21 and 34 years old pose the greatest risk, accounting for nearly half of all deaths in drunk-driving crashes on Halloween night in 2016, the NHTSA said.
In an effort to cut down on the number of drunk drivers, El Monte police will have extra officers on patrol, looking for intoxicated drivers and helping keep kids safe.
"We want people to enjoy Halloween, but also act responsibly,'' Sergeant Pitts said. "There are no excuses for driving impaired. There are so many options to get home safely.''
Police also warned people who use marijuana or take prescription drugs, particularly those with a driving warning on the label, might be impaired enough to get a DUI.
El Monte police also offered the following tips for drivers, partygoers, and parents out with children trick-or-treating on Halloween night:
-- Avoid driving through residential areas where trick-or-treaters are likely to be.
-- This is a night with heavy foot traffic and another reason to slow down, be extra cautious and obey all traffic signs and signals.
-- Watch for children in costumes that may be harder to see at night. Look out for trick-or-treaters who may cross the street mid-block, or from behind parked cars.
-- Decide before going out whether you plan to drink or drive. You can't do both.
-- If you plan to drink, designate a sober driver, take a cab, ride-share or use public transit. Anything that doesn't involve you getting behind the wheel.
-- Party hosts: Offer non-alcoholic drinks to designated drivers and don't allow anyone who may be impaired to leave.
-- Parents should plan their trick-or-treat route ahead of time and avoid busy streets.
-- Have your children wear visible costumes that are easy to walk in and see. Light-colored costumes are best. Use retro-reflective tape.
-- Carry a flashlight so drivers can see you.