Police take precautions for increased Halloween traffic and drunk drivers

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JEFFERSON CITY - Mid-Missouri police are alert for increased traffic and drunk drivers this Halloween. 

43 percent of people killed in accidents on Halloween night from 2009-2013 involved drunk drivers, according to the National Highway Traffic Saftey Administration. NHTSA also reports that 19 percent of fatal pedestrian accidents on Halloween night from 2009-2013 involved a drunk driver. 

"Anytime we have a weekend holiday, unfortunately, more people are drinking," Missouri State Highway Patrol Lieutenant Paul Reinsch said. 

Reinsch said the first thing alcohol affects is a person's decision making. He is urging drivers to make sure they know their driving plans before going out.

The numbers don't surprise Jefferson City resident Steve Dappen. 

“Drunk driving is a problem on Halloween, on a weekend, the eve of Thanksgiving, when everybody is off on Thanksgiving Day or New Year’s Eve, but it’s always a problem after 9 and 10 p.m. in which case when we’re going to have children home by then," Dappen said. 

Dappen said carrying glow sticks and flashlights help children stand out. 

Sergeant Mike Ottolini with the Jefferson City Police Department said the department will not have any extra DUI enforcement this weekend, but will be concentrated in neighborhoods. Ottolini said he thinks the higher rate of traffic on the holiday could be one factor in the high number of accidents. 

While the Missouri State Highway Patrol is not doing anything special for the holiday, it does have education programs and pamphlets alerting the public of the dangers of drunk driving.

"We are going to be out there to find them if they are there," Reinsch said. 

The Jefferson City Police Department does not usually have any problems but is urging drivers to drive slow and watch for kids darting across the road. 

"It's Halloween, slow down and be aware of young children walking, reduce speed, and be attentive," Reinsch said.