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New Jersey parking lots: riskier than expected

On behalf of Cohn Lifland Pearlman Herrmann & Knopf LLP | Dec 11, 2018 |

The National Safety Council (NSC) reports some alarming statistics about parking lot accidents and injuries. According to NSC data, there are more than 50,000 reported parking lot and garage structure accidents annually, resulting in 500 deaths and upwards of 60,000 injuries.

Insurers report that the number of claims for auto accidents in parking lots and garages spike on Black Friday at continue at a rapid pace throughout the entire Christmas and Hanukkah holiday shopping season.

Why accidents happen

The majority of parking lot-related accidents and injuries can be traced back to a few root causes. One of the biggest is distracted driving. Obviously, distracted driving is a big problem on our nation’s roads, with more than 400,000 distracted driving-related injuries reported each year. It’s a big problem in parking lots and parking garages as well, though.

Sixty-six percent of drivers surveyed by the NSC admitted that they make or take cellphone calls while driving through parking lots. An additional 63 percent also reported programming GPS devices, 56 percent admitted to texting and more than half of drivers said that they use social media or apps.

Backing up in parking lots is also a risk factor; nine percent of fatal parking lot accidents occur while a vehicle is backing out of a parking space. Remaining attentive and vigilant in the parking lot, pulling through a space whenever possible (so that you drive straight out instead of needing to back up), not cutting across parking lanes, taking your time, obeying stop signs and signals, and not driving while distracted can all help prevent accidents.

Add in snow and ice, and parking lots become even riskier. Slips, trips and falls are also possible during inclement weather, even without the added hazards associated with vehicle traffic. That is another reason why accidents spike during the winter months.