Parking lots are a ubiquitous feature in any commercial environment. Businesses ranging from restaurants to movie theaters often feature sprawling parking lots where patrons can leave their vehicles. Most people don’t spend much time considering parking lot safety beyond locking their vehicles. However, parking lots are actually very dangerous locations.
They are where a significant portion of pedestrian crashes occur. There are thousands of reported injuries and hundreds of preventable deaths every year because of parking lot crashes. Obviously, the risk factors for pedestrian crashes are higher in any place where there are many people walking. However, there is another concern that makes parking lot crashes such a serious safety concern.
People don’t worry about distraction in parking lots
Most drivers understand how dangerous it is to pick up a phone to read or send a text message while driving. They will specifically avoid handling their phones while on the road. However, that caution seems to end at the threshold of most parking lots.
A majority of drivers will admit to handling their phones in parking lots even though they likely would not do the same thing out on the street. Nearly two-thirds of people will admit to using GPS software or devices in parking lots. More than half admit they send text messages or use social media. Simply put, when they are in close proximity to a high number of pedestrians, many drivers set safety issues aside and focus instead on personal convenience. The unfortunate result of parking lot distraction is that pedestrians often end up hurt.
Drivers may not notice someone who was clearly visible because their eyes are on their devices instead of looking through their windshields. The good news for pedestrians injured in a parking lot incident is that the driver is as responsible in a parking lot as they would be for a pedestrian crash out on the street. Pedestrians can potentially file an insurance claim to recover property damage and injury-related losses. They may also have grounds for a personal injury lawsuit.
Recognizing safety issues before they lead to injury can help people stay safer and hold the right parties accountable if an injury does occur.