ITASKA, IL (CBS) – While thousands are expected to hit the malls on Black Friday, a poll finds two-thirds of drivers have reported being distracted while driving through a parking lot.
The National Safety Council poll found 66 percent of drivers would make phone calls while driving through a parking lot and 56 percent would text.
The Council says given the increased traffic in and out of parking lots during the holiday season, it is urging drivers and pedestrians to exercise extreme caution.
“It is discouraging that so many drivers are willing to add distractions to that mix. When you’re in a parking lot, you need to be hyper-vigilant to the risks surrounding you – just because speeds are lower doesn’t mean you are safe,” says Deborah A.P. Hersman, president and CEO of the National Safety Council.
The National Safety Council says on average more than 50,000 crashes happen in parking lots resulting in 500 or more deaths and more than 60,000 injuries.
The release says, “If the national roadway trend is any indication, parking lots may be even riskier this year. Motor vehicle deaths on all roads are up 9 percent through the first six months of the year compared to 2015.”
The Council warns that distracted walking is also a serious safety issue. It found from 2001-2011 more than 11,000 pedestrians were seriously hurt because they were distracted by their phones.
Notably, the poll found teen drivers were less likely than adults to talk on the phone (60 percent), use a laptop or tablet (29 percent), or watch a TV or movie (33 percent) while driving through a parking lot.
However, teens were more likely to groom themselves (59 percent) than adult drivers (53 percent).