The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) is reminding parents, drivers and children that Halloween can be fun without sacrificing safety. Adults and kids can avoid a variety of potential dangers by adhering to basic safety practices and using extra caution in areas where trick-or-treaters will be celebrating.
“As we head into the weekend before Halloween, we are calling on Texans to take security and safety seriously,” said DPS Director Steven McCraw. “Drivers should be on the lookout for trick-or-treaters of all ages who might walk along our roads or suddenly cross the street. Also, if alcohol will be part of your celebration, always designate a sober driver or choose alternate transportation.”
DPS offers the following tips to keep in mind while driving during Halloween:
- Don’t drink and drive. (Designate a sober driver or take a cab.)
- Eliminate distractions, including the usage of mobile devices.
- Slow down; and further reduce speeds in bad weather, construction areas and heavy traffic.
When planning a trick-or-treat route, parents may visit the Texas Public Sex Offender Registry – which includes a mapping function – to check for offenders who may be living in their neighborhood at records.txdps.state.tx.us.
Parents can also check the Texas Public Sex Offender Registry for offenders in their neighborhood by downloading the free DPS mobile app for use on iPhones, iPads and Android phones and tablets. The app provides interactive and easy-to-use maps for searching registered sex offenders by location, name, route and proximity. To see a demonstration of how to search by route using the DPS app, see www.youtube.com. Individuals can also report suspicious or criminal activity with the mobile app, at www.iwatchtx.org or by calling 1-844-643-2251.
The app is currently available for iPhone users on the Apple App Store (http://tinyurl.com/kj43lsr) and for Android users on Google Play (http://tinyurl.com/kda7ww8).
Texans can also stay safe by using these Halloween safety tips:
- Look both ways before crossing roadways, and always walk; don’t run.
- Cross the roadway at intersections and crosswalks.
- Travel in groups with adult supervision.
- Do not enter the cars or homes of strangers, and avoid homes without visible porch lights.
- Make sure children know their home phone number and how to call 911 or their local emergency number in case they have an emergency or become lost.
- Take all treats home for an adult to inspect before eating anything, and never eat unwrapped candy.
Individuals should also follow these tips when selecting a costume:
- Avoid toy guns and knives – they could easily be mistaken for a real weapon.
- Wear costumes that are light in color or place reflective material on the costume, so drivers can see you.
- Avoid using masks, if possible, to allow for better visibility and peripheral vision.
- Carry a flashlight.
(News release from Texas Department of Public Safety)