Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett Nov. 21 launched an education campaign to address the growing number of pedestrian collisions occurring in parking lots and garages in Montgomery County.
In 2012, parking lot and garage collisions comprised nearly one-third of all pedestrian collisions in the County. What is even more surprising was the finding that nearly 20 percent of the lot/garage collisions in 2012 resulted in severe, debilitating injuries — the same percentage as road collisions.
“Pedestrian collisions in parking lots and garages are on the rise, so we are launching an education campaign this holiday season to raise awareness among drivers and pedestrians about actions they can take to avoid becoming a statistic,” said Leggett. “Over the last six years, my Pedestrian Safety Initiative has significantly reduced collisions in areas where we have taken a comprehensive and targeted approach. Today, as we launch our ‘Heads Up in Parking Lot’ campaign,
“I am also releasing an expansion to the Initiative that takes the same focused approach to reducing the number and severity of parking lot and garage collisions. I am committed to making Montgomery County a model of a truly walkable community, and this commitment extends to every area in the County where pedestrians and vehicles may come into conflict – including parking lots and garages.”
In 2012, there were 423 reported pedestrian collisions in Montgomery County. Of these collisions, 125, or about 30 percent, occurred in parking lots and garages. Although parking lot collisions represent a significant portion of pedestrian collisions in the County, the assumption had always been that vehicles involved in these collisions were traveling at low speeds and the resulting impacts caused little or no injury. However, in 2012, a more detailed examination of collision data revealed that 18 percent of parking lot collisions that occurred that year resulted in incapacitating injuries. And, overall, 54 percent of parking lot/garage collisions in 2012 resulted in some type of injury.
Leggett launched the education campaign at Dawson’s Market in Rockville Town Center, which is managed by Federal Realty. Immediately following the press event, police officers and firefighters kicked off their holiday season safety campaign, “Shop with a Cop or Firefighter,” by distributing reusable shopping bags and parking lot safety tips to store customers. Through Christmas, police and firefighters will visit some of the County’s busiest shopping areas to remind customers to practice safe driving and walking behaviors in parking lots.
The educational campaign’s slogan, “Heads Up in Parking Lots,” features the message: “Don’t run over people. Don’t get run over.” The campaign consists of Ride On bus ads in English and Spanish; bus shelter ads aimed at pedestrians and drivers; posters in English and Spanish; safety tip cards in English and Spanish available at libraries, recreation and community centers, and stores; distribution of reusable shopping bags featuring a safety message; pavement decals at retail stores, and the 19 County parking garages and 21 County parking lots; two public service announcements: Heads Up in Parking Lots and Don’t run over people. Don’t get run over; and a new website featuring education materials in English and Spanish that can be downloaded and distributed to community, civic, religious and school groups.