You may not be on high alert in a
parking lot or garage, but these areas are riskier than you may think. The
National Safety Council reports there are more than 50,000 crashes in parking
lots and garages every year that result in more than 500 deaths and 60,000
injuries annually. The actual numbers may be even higher because many people do
not report their fender benders to insurance.
Distraction in a Parking Lot and Garage
It makes sense that you might let your guard down while driving in a parking lot or in a parking garage. After all, there is no fast traffic, no lights, and no stop signs.
So what could go wrong?
In a March 2016 opinion poll for the National Safety Council, 66% of drivers admitted they would make a phone call while driving through a parking lot and 56% said they would text or send or receive emails.
Among teenagers, ages 15 to 17, 59% said they were more likely to engage in personal grooming while driving in parking lots and 60% said they were likely to be on the phone, slightly less than adults.
Consider that parking lots or garage drivers may also be distracted by their kids in the back seat. They may have had a long day and would rather be somewhere else. They may think it’s a good time to catch up with emails or social media posts, but the statistics say otherwise.
Holiday shopping sales also bring out more inexperienced drivers who don’t normally navigate parking lots. The bottom line is distraction in a parking lot or garage allows people to lower their normally cautious behavior that they exhibit while on the road.
Who is Likely to Get Hurt in a Parking Lot?
Before you back up, it’s very important you know who is behind your car. An NSC analysis found that 9% of pedestrian deaths in parking lots occurred when a driver backed up on an individual. This could include someone who is small and can’t be seen, such as a child, or a slow moving adult.
A University of Alabama Birmingham study found 67% of child pedestrians, ages 2 to 10, were in a parking lot unsupervised. Even when a parent is present, it is not uncommon for a child to dart ahead and run into the path of a vehicle.
Nationally, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in 2007 estimated 5,000 children under the age of 14 were injured and 205 killed in parking lots, driveways, and private property.
Unfortunately, pedestrian deaths are on the rise as more people attempt to exercise on roadways that are not especially pedestrian-friendly. NHTSA reports a 3% increase in pedestrian deaths in 2018, which added up to 6,283 deaths.
Don’t contribute to the statistics.
When preparing to back up your
vehicle, please do not just rely on the rearview mirrors. It’s best to turn
around and if you are unsure, actually walk around the car to make sure the
path is clear.
Driving in a Parking Lot
Because there might be a wide-open area to drive in a parking lot, that does not mean you should do so. It is likely that others may also think they can ignore the directions and lanes and just take a short cut, cutting right in front of you.
A motor vehicle accident can change the course of your life forever. If you injure a pedestrian in a parking lot, you will likely be seen as the at-fault party and that makes your defense particularly difficult.
If you are the injured one, being hit by a vehicle is one of the most devastating harms you can suffer and if you survive, recovery may be long and difficult.
Reeves & Mestayer wants to remind everyone, particularly during the busy holiday shopping season, to pay attention to your surroundings in a parking lot or garage and do everything possible to avoid a collision.
If you have been injured, please call us as soon as you can so we can help you access medical care and seek the compensation you are due from the at-fault driver. We will also determine your non-economic damages such as physical pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment and consortium.
Reach us in our Biloxi office at 855-558-2977 or 228-300-2754 to schedule your free consultation. We look forward to speaking with you.