October 4, 2014

Quick Update

About five months ago I became executive director of the Association for Commuter Transportation (ACT). You can reach me at my ACT email: wright [at] actweb.org.

This might get confusing, but...ACT is managed by the International Parking Institute (IPI). So, I'm actually an IPI employee. (Which feels a little weird, because I'm also still an IPI member, and have been for a few years.) Anyway, this is all an unexpected twist of fate I would not have predicted several years ago when I first started talking with IPI about vehicle-into-building crashes. They've been helpful on a number of occasions in helping educate various audiences about the problem.

Just recently, a colleague who staffs IPI's Safety & Security Committee was kind enough to send committee members an email from me full of storefront safety-related links, along with a PDF of the article I'd written in 2011 on the topic for IPI's magazine, The Parking Professional. The links connected mostly to media coverage and articles co-authored with storefront safety expert Rob Reiter.

Someone else at IPI is working on a public safety announcement focusing on parking and senior drivers. My ears perked up when I learned that, and I hope to persuade them to include content on this issue — especially how nose-in parking and lack of bollards/barriers amplifies the impact of driver pedal error and related problems. Not sure what their timeframe is for that project, but I'll post an update here if it comes to pass.

May 6, 2014

Email Change

Just a quick housekeeping note to let you know that I'm retiring the mark 'at' storefrontcrashes.com email address — the first of several changes coming for this site over the next couple of months.

Feel free to email me at my business address anytime, though: mark 'at' wrightscontent.com.

March 20, 2014

Welcome, NAIOP Readers!

Photo of Wintergreen Plaza in Rockville, Md.,
by Mark Wright, courtesy of NAIOP.
Thanks to NAIOP, the Commercial Real Estate Development Association, for the opportunity to spotlight the vehicle-into-building crash problem in the spring issue of Development Magazine.

The article by Rob Reiter and me went live online March 20, plus will be in the print edition sent to NAIOP members: How Safe Is Your Parking Lot?

As risk control expert David Natalizia said in the article, “This is an important issue that may have been beneath the radar because of the difficulty in understanding its magnitude and scope.”

And parking design consultant Warren Vander Helm observed, “There is no reason why a design for an average parking area has to include nose-in parking,” which is one of the primary contributing factors in storefront crashes.

March 13, 2014

SXSW Tragedy Spotlighted in The Atlantic Cities

Image via The Atlantic Cities, posted to Twitter by @ColinKerrigan
Thanks to Rob Reiter's fast action and Sarah Goodyear's fast writing, the murderous results of a driver who drove through a crowd of people at the SXSW music festival early this morning in Austin, Texas, are getting the attention they deserve with a focus on the need for pedestrian protection. Here's Sarah's article today in The Atlantic Cities: We're Shamefully Bad at Protecting Pedestrians at Events Like SXSW. Kudos to Rob and Sarah for highlighting the problem.

March 6, 2014

Change Coming Soon

At the end of June, this site will officially become an archive rather than a blog. I'll also simultaneously hand over my admin keys to the Storefront Safety Council LinkedIn group and the Council's website, coordinating with co-founder Rob Reiter on the details as I transition out.

While my concern about vehicle-into-building crashes remains strong, I've hit a point in life where I need to make some changes — including wrapping up the StorefrontCrashes.com project and taking off my Council co-founder hat.

I have truly cherished your attention and feedback since I launched this blog after my own accident recovery several years ago. Knowing that the information here has aided attorneys representing crash victims and provided some businesses with tips on how to protect their storefront from vehicle collisions has also been rewarding.

Likewise, I've been very fortunate to have had the opportunity to team up with Rob Reiter in launching the Storefront Safety Council LinkedIn group (he has near-singlehandedly sustained it with regular postings) and in collaborating on articles for industry publications.

Speaking of articles, we have one coming out in NAIOP's Development Magazine on March 17, which I'll cover in a new post here on that date. Rob also appears to have the editor of an insurance industry magazine interested in an article from us, due in May, so I will post about that as well down the road.

Why did I pick the end of June for my official wrap-up date? Because I turn 57 then (God willing). I was 51 when I got hit. One of the biggest lessons that experience taught me: we're never guaranteed another birthday, so make the most of the time we're given.

Every year, many lives end, or are profoundly changed, because of the flaws in our built environment that leave people exposed to errant drivers and moving vehicles. I'm not giving up on searching for prevention and protection strategies. But I am changing my approach.

Thanks again for your continued interest.

—Mark

February 24, 2014

Data Gives Insights into Crash Problem

Part I: When risk control pro David Natalizia surveyed colleagues via his blog to assess their perceptions about vehicle-into-building crashes, he got responses from 20 readers — and made some interesting discoveries:
  • First off, 90 percent of the respondents had a pretty high level of awareness that these accidents happen frequently — and 75 percent recognized that the magnitude of the problem would not be picked up by NHTSA data.
  • They held a strong impression about who’s typically not at the wheel during these crashes, with 85 percent indicating that most such crashes do not involve teen drivers.
  • Respondents showed less consensus about the statement, ‘Positioning parking spaces perpendicular to a building may increase risks,’ with 65 percent agreeing, 20 percent neutral, and 15 percent disagreeing.
  • Awareness about the ineffectiveness of wheel stops and curbs as crash barriers appeared to be high, with only 10 percent agreeing with the statement that ‘Wheel stops and curbs effectively prevent vehicles from crashing forward into buildings.’
  • There was significant disagreement around the survey question that stated, ‘No standard practices exist for controlling this hazard,’ with 70 percent disagreeing, 20 percent agreeing, and 10 percent neutral.
I’ll be asking David to weigh in with his interpretation of those findings, but for now let me simply say ‘Thanks!’ to him here for posting the survey on his blog and being willing to engage his readers on this issue. Risk control professionals have a huge role to play in moving the vehicle-into-building crash conversation forward with other key audiences.

Part II: Another set of interesting numbers came out this morning in the form of charts from Rob Reiter, showing several findings based on his stats from 2013. A couple of them surprised me, but for now I’ll leave you with Rob’s work:

Source: Rob Reiter


Source: Rob Reiter


Source: Rob Reiter

If you prefer pie charts, you'll find 'em here.