Distracted driving and poor maintenance can lead to injuries and even fatalities in parking lots. These risks grow during busy shopping seasons.
Slip and falls and crime
In general, falls are the leading cause of death for older individuals. Insufficient pavement striping, potholes, cracks, inadequate signage, poor illumination, puddles, snow, and ice can cause falls and other pedestrian injuries in parking lots.
The Urban Institute Justice Policy Center found that larger parking lots, usually at shopping malls, have a greater risk of crime. Shopping malls and other retail locations have the duty of taking precautions, such as illumination, surveillance, and security, which address the risk in their location.
Consumers can reduce the risk of being a crime victim by picking a parking space with restricted pedestrian traffic and monitored with video surveillance. Also, they should park in well-lit spaces and close to where they are shopping, lock doors, and store purchases in the trunk under dark-colored blankets and other places that are not visible.
Each year, there are tens of thousands of vehicle accidents in parking lots and structures causing hundreds of deaths and thousands of injuries. Many minor fender bender crashes likely go unreported.
Distracted driving many be a major culprit. According to a National Safety Council public opinion poll, 66 percent of drivers across the county said they make phone calls while driving through parking lots. Other distracted driving reported in this survey included:
- Programming GPS sytems-63 percent
- Texting-56 percent
- Using social media-52 percent
- Sending or receiving emails-50 percent
- Taking photos or watching videos-49 percent
Backup accidents cause nine percent of pedestrian fatalities in parking lots, according to government data.
Motorists can help prevent these accidents by doing a quick 360-degree-walking around their vehicle before backing up; using any backup cameras installed in their vehicles, looking over their shoulders and using mirrors while going into reverse even if the vehicle is equipped with backup cameras and pull through on arrival if possible while parking and while going with traffic flow. Monitoring systems can alert motorists of blind spots but cannot detect motorcycles, pedestrians, or smaller objects.
Pedestrians may suffer serious injuries in these accidents. An attorney can help injured pedestrians and shoppers seek compensation against negligent motorists and shopping areas that did not comply with their standard of care.