As the chart below illustrates, we have compared national figures for the age of licensed drivers (stated as a percentage of total licensed drivers) against the reported ages of drivers involved in vehicle-into-building crashes (when driver age is reported.) What we have found is startling -- just 19% of the licensed drivers are responsible for something like 45% of such storefront crashes.
Those 19% of licensed drivers who are responsible for 45% of all storefront crashes are drivers over the age of 60.
By comparison, 44% of licensed drivers who are responsible for just 38% of all storefront crashes are drivers under the age of 40.
While there has been a great deal of research indicating that drivers over 65 are more likely to have pedal error accidents than younger drivers, most of those studies have been conducted by NHTSA or State and Federal Transportation or Highway departments using data collected from reports of incidents which occurred on state or federal roads and highways. In contrast, most of our data is collected on private property; parking lots, malls, local streets and driveways, etc. Significantly, our data also shows that pedal error is the leading cause of vehicle-into-building crashes in such locations -- as high as 36%.
Our data is very different from highway data because pedal error is many times more common in the act of parking or unparking. Driving into and through parking lots is very much more hazardous than on open roads, as NHTSA pointed out in their report in 2013. NHTSA noted a study done in North Carolina which showed that injuries and deaths are much more common in lower speed accidents in parking lots and retail storefronts than they are in highway collisios -- mostly because of the presence of unprotected pedestrians outside of stores and vulnerable employees and customers inside the stores. See the NHTSA study and the North Carolina data HERE.
We have no desire to get into a shouting match with NHTSA, or for that matter with AARP, AAA, and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, all of whom have gone to great lengths to paint the problem in a very different light. So we will just say that the Storefront Safety Council a very small, all-volunteer organization which would be overjoyed to receive any help or support available from competent parties who would like to help us crunch data, conduct research, or compile anecdotal or media reports on crashes going back to 2004 -- which is what we are trying to do while we attempt to stay current with as many of the sixty or more storefront crashes that we believe occur in the United States every single day.
But we say to those organizations -- if you have better numbers for storefront crashes on private property than we have -- please share them with us. And if you have them, why in the heck have you not tried to do something to call attention to the problem?
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