|Pedestrian Safety Measure Urgently Needed for Safer Use of Drive-thru Facilities|
Pedestrian Safety Measure Urgently Needed for
Safer Use of Drive-thru Facilities
- Neither alarming system nor safety guards at the spots despite frequent use of the facilities -
Drive-thru which enables customers to buy food or beverages such as burgers or coffee while driving is gaining popularity. It provides convenience for users, but at the same time, the facility causes heavy traffic and even threatens the users’ and pedestrians’ lives. Indeed, we need solutions for this.
□ Many have experienced dangerous situations at drive-thrus.
Korea Consumer Agency (www.kca.go.kr) conducted a survey of 500 people who have experienced the drive-thru within South Korea. About 73% of the respondents, or 365 of them, gave the utmost reason for enjoying the service in that they can save time as they can get their food immediately after ordering. But more than half of the survey targets (56.6%) felt uncomfortable with drive-thru when it comes to passers-by’ and their vehicle’s safety: 189 respondents, which accounts for 37.8% of the total, said they were disturbed by pedestrians because their cars must move across pavements, and 94 of them or 18.8% told that there are a lot of cars around drive-thrus, which makes drivers be bothered.
The survey also shows that 60 respondents (12%) have actually experienced accidents while using the drive-thru service: 35 of the respondents (7.0% of the total) had their vehicle crash with facilities of a store or its surroundings’; 29 of them (5.8%) with other cars; and 23 of them (4.6%) with pedestrian. And even almost half of those (246 respondents, 49.2%) who have never had any accident at drive-thru have felt danger at least. When asked what is necessary for securing users’ safety, those who answered ‘safety guards at the driving course nearby’ stands for 26.2% (131 respondents).
□ Some stores do not have alarming system, making even harder for drivers to acquire clear sight around the exits.
So the KCA checked 33 drive-thrus in the metropolitan area including Seoul, Gyeong-gi Province, and Incheon, and discovered that nine facilities among the targets make it difficult for drivers to see people or cars passing by since buildings or walls block the sight of the drivers. Five out of those nine facilities did not even have road reflectors that show drivers dead zones.
Twelve of them did not have alarms which give signals of nearby passers-by or cars to drivers and three stores (9.1%) have alarms that are not even working.
※ In off-road parking lot must pedestrians within the 60 degrees on both right and left side be seen at the spot at 1.4 meter-height from the centre line of the road that is two metres away from the entrance. Alarm units must be installed at the spot. (Enforcement Rule of Parking Lot Act Article 6 Paragraph 1)
Moreover, even though the vehicles that access the target stores have to cross the pavement beside, such stores did not have separate entry and exit (4 stores, 12.1%) or have access through gas station (14 stores, 42.4%), causing concerns over traffic congestion and accidents.
Some of the stores did not have blockage that separate driving road from pavement or did have motorbikes parked on driving roads. Others have diagonal access roads that cause vehicles to encroach on the pavements.
※ Seoul Metropolitan City government has prescribed in the Guidelines for Permission on the Facility for Vehicle Access Across Pavement that slip road must cross pavement at minimum.
□ Not a single facility has safety guards
Safety guards was the number one element essential for enhancing safety around the drive-thrus that the respondents picked, but there are no such facilities with guards. So having safety guards at times when there are many users or pedestrians is worth considering.
Drive-thrus can be operated only with the registration of food service business, and do not have separate standards to meet nor restrictions on location. Furthermore, there is no obligation for creating special safety measure except getting permission for private use of roads when cars must go across crosswalks for accessing store.
※ For using slip road that crosses pavement, permission for occupation and use of roads must be granted by a road agency (Road Act Article 61).
Based on the study, the KCA is planning to ask for creating facility standards and safety measures regarding private use of roads to the department in charge in order to secure safety of both drivers and passer-by.
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