Pedestrians in Parking Lots Face Serious Threats of Injuries by Texting Drivers
Parking lot accidents do not sound very serious to most people. However, statistics indicate that parking lots are often a high-risk area for severe injuries. People tend to project where they’re most at risk for accident or injury. They believe they are more at risk of an accident on the highway, at a busy intersection, or in bad weather conditions. You think the parking lot is safer because of the slow pace at which drivers navigate while searching for a parking spot.
Unfortunately, parking lots are dangerous for that very reason. Drivers don’t see the need to take extra care when navigating their vehicle in a parking lot. They become relaxed once they step into a parking area and don’t see the need to be all focused like they were while on the highway. As a result, there’s a lower tendency for safety precautions like checking their side and rear view mirrors for passing pedestrians and other vehicles, thereby leading to avoidable accidents.
Parking Lot Accident Statistics
- A poll conducted by the National Safety Council found that about 66 percent of drivers in the US use their phone for calls while driving within a parking lot. Roughly 63 percent of them set their GPS, 56 percent are texting, while 52 percent are on social media. These accidents are common because drivers let their guard down.
- According to the NSC, about 50,000 crashes happen in the parking lot, which results in 60,000 injuries and over 500 deaths because of the level of distraction. In cases such as these that should’ve been avoided, the drivers are found liable for the injuries caused. Accidents caused in a parking lot is far more serious as it leaves the unprotected pedestrian at risk of being severely injured or dead.
- Cell phones are a major cause of distraction for drivers in parking lots. But there are other actions too that can influence the incidents of accidents. These actions include the general reckless driving of most drivers that cut across parking spaces, disregarding stop signs, and driving too fast. They are hell-bent on beating others to a particular spot that they fail to heed to the basic precautions.
Leading Causes of Accidents in Parking Lots
Primarily, parking lot accidents happen due to the laxity of drivers within this environment. They believe they are out of the high-pressure environment of a busy roadway and assume it’s okay to lean back and take it easy. Unfortunately, they are often wrong. Some of the most common causes of parking lot accidents include the following:
- A forward-moving vehicle colliding with a pedestrian
- A vehicle colliding with a pedestrian while backing out
- An improperly parked car left on drive colliding with a pedestrian
NSC estimates that about 9 percent of parking lot accidents occur while a car is reversing and most pedestrians that find themselves in such situations are little children, infants in strollers, or older adults. In 2007, the news report from NBC says that about 2000 children who were under the age of 14 were seriously injured in a parking lot accident, and about 99 of them died.
This is a clear indication that parking lot accidents are quite the scare that many would realize, and most of them, if not all are preventable.
How Dangerous is Texting While Driving?
In 2019, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), about 3,142 people died in car crashes in the U.S because of distracted driving. Which is 9 percent of the fatalities of that year. The percentage may seem small but the NHTSA reports that 8 people die in car crashes due to distracted drivers in the United States.
Other statistics of the dangers of texting while driving include:
- 1 in 5 people involved in distracted driving fatalities was not in a vehicle.
- An approximately 9.7 percent of drivers were making use of their devices in 2018.
- About 15 percent of injury crashes were the result of distracted driving.
- There is about a 400 percent increase in time spent with eyes off the road while texting.
- The risk of a crash or near-crash increases by 95 percent when reaching for a dialing phone.
- AAA found that about 12 percent of crashes involve engaging with cell phones.
Laws Against Texting While Driving
According to the National Conference of State Legislation, the primary use of a hand-held and texting ban is to combat distracted driving. Hand-held bans are laws that allow the use of mobile devices while driving only in hands-free mode.
Hand-held cell phone use ban: A total of 24 states including the U.S. Virgin Islands prohibits drivers from using hand-held cell phones while driving.
All cell phone ban: No state banned cell phone use for all drivers but 36 states placed a ban on cellphone use by novice or teen drivers. The use of cell phones by school bus drivers on duty is also prohibited in 18 states and D.C.
Text messaging ban: About 48 states including the U.S. Virgin Islands placed a ban on text messaging for all drivers.
Can I sue a driver for texting and driving?
You can sue a driver for texting and driving if you saw them with their cellphones while on the wheel. You’ll be compensated for your medical bills or any damages the accident might cause you. You can also prove that your claims are 100% true if there are witnesses that saw the incident happen. The police can prove that there was distracted driving at the accident scene but you should also relate this to your lawyer. They will help with a proper investigation of the accidents for more clues to sue the reckless driver who has caused you pain.
Steps for Drivers to take to avoid these accidents
Though some of these accidents are mostly caused by human errors, there are steps in place for both pedestrians and drivers that they can follow to avoid them.
#1 Put away your phone
This step is the first and most obvious for drivers to take as soon as they get behind the wheel. They should do away with any form of distraction that would cost the life of a person. You have no reason to be on your device while you should be 100% focused on the road. If for any reason at all there’s an issue that you must resolve, like programming your GPS, it should be done before you get moving.
Distractions while driving is already illegal and many people ignore this part of the law, especially in the parking lot as shown by the NSC. Putting your cell phone aside would not only save you from getting a ticket but also saving someone else from losing their life.
#2 Carry out a thorough check before backing out of a parking lot
The second necessary step for drivers to take is to check properly. Like, do a thorough inspection of all angles and blind spots when backing out of a parking spot. It is always a common practice for people to look behind quickly or just look behind from one angle and proceed. This is why the second most common cause of parking lot accidents is the driver backing into a pedestrian or vehicle.
#3 Do not rely so much on technology
According to the National Safety Council, it is not advisable to rely solely on technology such as backup cameras to show you what’s behind. You still have to look over your shoulder and in your mirror before proceeding. Parking lots also pose a high risk for children and it is also a leading cause of death for children under the ages of 5-9.
You need to be wary of kids of that age when backing up, as they may often appear too short to be seen in the rearview mirror.
Although pedestrian accidents are often the faults of the driver, pedestrians too must protect themselves and minimize the risk of an accident. You must always be alert, attentive, and make plans for the worst in case. You can’t rely fully on drivers to be attentive all the time and not drive recklessly. The parking lot can be more dangerous than most people presume. With the large percentage of vehicle accidents and insurance claims occurring in the parking lot, raising awareness about distracted and reckless driving while in the parking lot is essential to making it safer.