Distracted Drivers and Danger of Fatal Pedestrian Accidents in Parking Lots and Garages

Distracted Drivers and Danger of Fatal Pedestrian Accidents in Parking Lots and Garages

Are you putting your life in your hands just by walking in a parking lot or garage in Indiana or Illinois? Yes.

Did you see the CBS News report this week about the growing danger of  dying in a pedestrian accident while walking in a parking lot or garage?  The coverage is based upon new warnings from the National Safety Council.

From the National Safety Council study:

  1. 66% of drivers will make phone calls while driving in a parking lot;
  2. 56% of drivers will text while driving through a parking lot or garage;
  3. Over 50,000 motor vehicle accidents happen in parking garages or lots each year;
  4. Over 60,000 people are injured in these accidents; and
  5. It is expected that the number of parking lot pedestrian fatalities will rise in 2016, especially since the number of pedestrian accidents as a whole has been skyrocketing since 2014.

Pedestrians are not just getting hit in parking lots and parking garages. The NSC and CBS News report the scary fact:  more and more people are dying in fatal pedestrian accidents in parking lots and garages. 

2016 Holiday Shopping Season Warning to Shoppers

Obviously, we are going to be enjoying the bargains and specials beginning on Black Friday this week and continuing through to those year-end clearance sales.  Black Friday sales are a holiday tradition!

We do not want your holiday to turn tragic.  It’s important that everyone understands this new danger facing all of us today.  It’s something that we did not consider in times past.

From Deborah A.P. Hersman, National Safety Council president:

“Parking lots are intense driving environments that require both drivers and pedestrians to pay close attention. It is discouraging that so many drivers are willing to add distractions to that mix. When you’re in a parking lot, you need to be hyper-vigilant to the risks surrounding you – just because speeds are lower doesn’t mean you are safe.”

Danger When Walking in a Parking Lot or Parking Garage

Times are changing.  This new danger for pedestrians in parking facilities correlates to the rising popularity of smart phone technology.  In other words, thank the distractions of phone use by drivers for the increasing risk to walkers.

The NSC study warns that drivers have more distractions now.  They are driving into parking lots (at shopping centers, elementary schools, grocery stores, and elsewhere) without being alert to their surroundings.

The same is true for drivers entering parking garages at hospitals, office buildings, or shopping malls.  Drivers are not alert.  Drivers are not watching for pedestrians as they zoom around, looking for a place to park.

What are these distracted drivers doing?  According to the National Safety Council, all sorts of things are distracting drivers, including:

  • Programing GPS (63 percent)
  • Sending or receiving emails (50 percent)
  • Using social media (52 percent)
  • Taking photos or watching videos (49 percent)
  • Using a smartwatch (43 percent)
  • Surfing the Internet (43 percent)
  • Video chats (42 percent).

Shockingly, teen drivers are LESS likely to be driving while distracted in parking lots and parking garages by talking on their phones than older and more experienced drivers.

Fatal Pedestrian Accidents:  One Happens Every 2 Minutes in the United States

It’s not news that pedestrian accidents are often serious and many times, people die in accidents where they are on foot and hit by a car (or truck, SUV, sedan, minivan, etc.).

We know from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) that a pedestrian is killed every two hours in traffic crashes in this country.

These are fatal accidents that are obviously preventable if the driver isn’t driving distracted.

This risk is even higher in our part of the country.  A recent study found that Indianapolis, Indiana, is one of the most dangerous cities for fatal pedestrian accidents. 

The risk of dying in a pedestrian accident in Indianapolis is much higher than many other urban areas across the United States.  Moreover, Indiana as a whole ranked 23rd in the country for pedestrian accident deaths.  For details, read Carrie Cline’s reporting in “Indianapolis ranked among most deadly cities for pedestrian accidents,” published by WTHR.com.

How Distractions Impact Ability to Drive a Vehicle

Some might scoff at these numbers, suggesting that anyone driving in a parking lot or garage is driving much too slow to kill someone, even if they hit them.  Wrong.

The truth is that people can suffer serious spinal cord injuries and traumatic brain injuries when they are hit by a moving motor vehicle at any speed.  And the distracted driver is much more likely to cause a pedestrian accident.  It’s reported that 80% of all Indiana traffic accidents are caused by some form of driver distraction.

Human beings cannot operate a motor vehicle effectively while distracted.  The human brain remains distracted from driving for a full 27 seconds after dialing a phone number or sending a text via voice.

Even if the driver is no longer using the phone, it will take him half-a-minute to return to a full focus on operating his car or truck.   That is more than enough time for a fatal pedestrian accident to occur.

Please Warn Your Loved Ones of the Distraction Dangers in Parking Facilities

Changing times mean distracted drivers will be the cause of tragic holiday deaths this year in parking lot and parking garage pedestrian accidents.   There’s a real danger today of you or a loved one being hit and killed by a car while you are walking in a parking lot or garage.

Fatal parking lot pedestrian accidents caused by distracted drivers are a rising statistic.

Please warn your loved ones about this danger – both when walking through parking facilities in Indiana and Illinois as well as driving in parking lots and garages!  Let’s be careful out there!




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