The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has designated October as the first-ever national Pedestrian Safety Month.  This designation is long overdue.  It is common for pedestrians to be in close-proximity to moving vehicles, and this mixture can be quite dangerous.  Consider the following statistics.  According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), a pedestrian is killed every 88 minutes in the United States.  When it comes to survival odds, speed is the differentiator.  A study relied upon by NHTSA estimates that:

  • 5% of pedestrians would die if struck by a vehicle traveling 20 mph at impact;
  • 40% percent at 30 mph;
  • 80% percent at 40 mph; and
  • Nearly 100% would die if struck by vehicles traveling at speeds over 50 mph at impact.

So, with the mixture of pedestrians and moving vehicles at dealerships, what are some measures that can be implemented to minimize the risk of pedestrian accidents and the extent of injuries?  We have 5 tips.

First Tip:  Set a lot speed limit and post signage.  There is no reason for anyone to drive over 10 mph on your lot, and this message must be communicated to both customers and employees through signage and other methods.  Customers walk and weave through the lot and are often paying more attention to a parked vehicle that they may purchase or lease, than the dangerous moving vehicle in a lane.  By maintaining a low speed, customers and employees will be more likely to stop suddenly if someone darts from between vehicles and into the lane.  Also, remember, the CDC estimates that 5% of pedestrians die when struck by a vehicle traveling at 20 mph and the numbers increase from there, so take measures to avoid vehicles approaching 20 mph on the lot.

Second Tip:  Ensure that there are barriers separating the lot from walkways and buildings.  Effective barriers can stop a vehicle from jumping onto a walkway and striking a pedestrian, and there are different types of barriers that can be effective.  Before making any expenditures, however, first familiarize yourself with the local zoning requirements.

Third Tip:  Create a safe driving policy that includes the test drive route.  Among other things, this policy should express the speed limit on the lot, reinforce the drivers’ legal obligations to obey all traffic laws when on and off of the lot, forbid any distracted driving (such as texting while driving), and review the route that vehicles must take when being test-driven by employees off of the lot.  Statistically, bad things are more likely to happen during left turns, and the route should eliminate left turns (if possible).  The route should avoid roadways with high speed limits, roadways with high accident rates, and roadways with hills (in anticipation of snowy and icy conditions).  Moreover, a set route can help control fuel consumption, help you anticipate when someone will return from a test drive, and help narrow down where the employee and vehicle are located should a breakdown or accident occur.  The format of the policy should include a statement identifying the consequences for not following the policy, and all employees should review, understand, and acknowledge the policy since just about everyone drives on the dealership’s lot.

Fourth Tip:  Provide the appropriate training when an employee is hired, at least annually, and following an accident or near miss.  At the time of hire, all employees should review and execute the safe driving policy and engage in interactive training for driving safely around pedestrians.  It is also best practice to provide this training on at least an annual basis since most insurance companies ask for these training records during the renewal process.  Also, since employees are hired throughout the year as needed, online training modules are a great method for providing consistent messaging, tracking completions, and automatically assigning renewal trainings.  For those that are involved in a vehicle accident or near miss and retain employment, remediation training should occur as soon as possible as a corrective measure.

Fifth Tip:  Enforce the lot speed limit and safe driving policy.  You care about the health and well-being of your employees and customers, and it is your obligation to protect them and send the right message by enforcing the safe driving policies and trainings.

Follow these 5 tips, and you will be well on your way to reducing the risk of a pedestrian accident and minimizing the injuries should such an accident occur.

ABOUT COMPLYNET:  Founded in 1994, ComplyNet has emerged as an automotive industry leader in compliance and risk mitigation solutions in the area of Environmental Health & Safety (EH&S), Sales, Finance, Information Security, and Human Resources.  ComplyNet combines its on-site services and its intuitive software-as-a-solution services to help dealerships, service centers, and body shops reduce risk, achieve compliance, and retain talent.  ComplyNet serves dealers across the United States, including multiple dealership groups in the top 150.  To learn more about ComplyNet, please visit www.complynet.com or contact EJ Shelby, National Director of Sales, at 219.308.2649 or ej.shelby@complynet.com.