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Crime Prevention: Traffic Safety Tip for October


The purpose of this Pedestrian and Halloween Safety Circular is to provide information to Department personnel and community members that will enhance their knowledge and awareness of traffic enforcement and safety issues. The information in this circular can be used for crime prevention meetings, community presentations, enforcement efforts, or in any other forum deemed appropriate.


Pedestrian traffic collisions are a vital concern of the Los Angeles Police Department. Especially, now with children back in school and Halloween quickly approaching, child pedestrian safety is a major concern. The following table depicts the number of child (under 18 years of age) pedestrian-related traffic collisions occur within the City of Los Angeles:






Pedestrian Children Traffic Collisions






Pedestrian Children Killed






Pedestrian Children Seriously Injured






As motorists and pedestrians, we need to obey traffic laws that assure our safety. The following California Vehicle Code (CVC) sections have been the primary causes for the majority of both child and adult pedestrian-involved traffic collisions in the City of Los Angeles:

21950(a) CVC – Right-of-Way at Crosswalks - The driver of a vehicle shall yield the right-of-way to a pedestrian crossing the roadway within any marked crosswalk or within any unmarked crosswalk at an intersection.

21951 CVC – Vehicles Stopped for Pedestrians - When a vehicle is stopped at a marked or unmarked crosswalk at an intersection to allow a pedestrian to cross the roadway, vehicles approaching from the rear shall not overtake and pass the stopped vehicle.

21954(a) CVC – Pedestrians Outside Crosswalk - Every pedestrian upon a roadway, except those traveling within a marked or unmarked crosswalk at an intersection, shall yield the right-of-way to all vehicles in the roadway that are near enough to constitute an immediate hazard.

22106 CVC – Starting Parked Vehicles or Backing - No person shall start a vehicle that is stopped, standing, or parked on a highway, nor shall any person back a vehicle on a highway until such movement can be made with reasonable safety.

21453(b) CVC – Right Turn on Red Light - A driver, after stopping for a steady circular red signal, may turn right. However, the driver shall yield the right-of-way to pedestrians lawfully within an adjacent crosswalk and to traffic using the cross street.

21456 CVC – Walk, Wait, or Don’t Walk - (a) A pedestrian facing a "WALK" signal may proceed across the roadway in the direction of the signal, but shall yield the right-of-way to vehicles lawfully within the intersection at the time that signal is first shown. (b) No pedestrian shall start to cross the roadway in the direction of the signal while the "DON’T WALK" or "WAIT" symbol is showing.

21955 CVC – Crossing Between Controlled Intersections - Pedestrians shall not cross the roadway at any place between adjacent intersections controlled by traffic control signal devices or police officers, except within a crosswalk.


Halloween is one of the best times of the year for children. However, it can be one of the most dangerous as well. Please take the time to review the following safety tips, which are provided by the Los Angeles City Fire Department, and have a safe and happy Halloween.

Before Halloween

ü Plan costumes that are bright and reflective. Make sure that shoes fit well and that costumes are short enough to prevent tripping, entanglement or contact with flame.

ü Consider adding reflective tape or striping to costumes and Trick-or-Treat bags for greater visibility.

ü Secure emergency identification (name, address, phone number) discreetly within Halloween attire or on a bracelet.

ü Because masks can limit or block eyesight, consider non-toxic makeup and decorative hats as safer alternatives.

ü When shopping for costumes, wigs and accessories look for and purchase only those with a label clearly indicating they are flame resistant.

ü Think twice before using simulated knives, guns or swords. If such props must be used, be certain they do not appear authentic and are soft and flexible to prevent injury.

ü Obtain flashlights with fresh batteries for all children and their escorts.

ü Plan ahead to use only battery-powered lanterns or chemical light sticks in place of candles in decorations and costumes.

ü Teach children to know how to call 9-1-1 if they have an emergency or become lost. Remind them that 9-1-1 can be dialed free at any payphone.

ü Review with your children the principle of "Stop-Drop-Roll", should their clothes catch on fire.

ü Openly discuss appropriate and inappropriate behavior at Halloween time.

ü Take extra effort to eliminate tripping hazards on your porch and walkway. Check around your property for low tree limbs, support wires or garden hoses that may prove hazardous to young children rushing from house to house.

ü Learn or review CPR skills to aid someone choking or having a heart attack.

Before Nightfall on Halloween

ü Consider fire safety when decorating. Do not overload electrical outlets with holiday lighting or special effects.

ü Always keep Jack O' Lanterns and hot electric lamps away from drapes, decorations, flammable materials or areas where children will be standing or walking.

ü Plan and review with your children the route and behavior which is acceptable to you. Agree on a specific time when revelers must return home.

ü Along with flashlights for all, older children and escorts should wear a wristwatch and carry coins for non-emergency phone calls.

ü Confine, segregate or otherwise prepare household pets for an evening of frightful sights and sounds. Be sure all dogs and cats are wearing collars with proper identification tags. Consult your veterinarian for further advice.

ü Remind all drivers to remain cautious and drive slowly throughout the community.

ü Adult partygoers should establish a designated driver.

When Trick-or-Treating

ü A Parent or responsible adult should always accompany young children on their neighborhood rounds.

ü Remind Trick-or Treaters:

  • By using a flashlight, they can see and be seen by others.
  • Remain on well-lit streets and always use the sidewalk.
  • If no sidewalk is available, walk at the farthest edge of the roadway facing traffic.
  • Obey all traffic and pedestrian regulations.
  • Always walk. Never run across a street.
  • Only cross the street at corners or at established crosswalks.
  • Remove any mask or item that will limit eyesight before crossing a street.
  • Don't assume the right of way. Motorists may have trouble-seeing trick-or-treaters. Just because one car stops, doesn't mean others will!
  • Stay in a group and communicate where they will be going.
  • Only go to homes with a porch light on.
  • Never cut across yards or use alleys.
  • Never enter a stranger's home or car for a treat.
  • Never consume food items or drinks that may be offered.
  • No treats are to be eaten until they are thoroughly checked by an adult at home.

The police should be notified immediately of any suspicious or unlawful activity.

After Trick-or-Treating

ü Wait until children are home to sort and check treats. Though tampering is rare, a responsible adult should closely examine all treats and throw away any spoiled, unwrapped or suspicious items.

ü Make sure items that can cause choking (such as hard candies) are given only to those of an appropriate age.


It is the responsibility of motorists and pedestrians to observe all traffic laws as described in the California Vehicle Code (CVC). And, it is the responsibility of the Police Department to inform the community on the importance of traffic safety, and to enforce the rules of the road as described in the CVC. These efforts will help ensure the safety of motorists and pedestrians throughout the City.