A two-year-old and her family were in the Southpark Meadows shopping center whenever parent’s worst nightmare occurred. A driver in a pickup truck struck the girl in a tragic parking lot accident. According to police, several witnesses had to flag the driver down, as he did not realize he had hit the child. The girl was sent to a nearby hospital, but was later declared dead.
While no charges were filed against the driver, the parking lot accidents has drawn attention to the safety concerns for pedestrians in Southpark Meadows and other rapidly expanding shopping centers around Austin. In July, a one-year-old boy was hit walking through a Walmart parking lot in North Austin. Confused by why so many witnesses were gesturing frantically and banging on the window, the driver reversed back over the child, killing him.
Are Parking Lot Accidents Common?
Unfortunately, parking lots are breeding grounds for car accidents. Drivers are often in a rush to find the closest parking space before anyone else does and don’t always pay attention to the pedestrian or vehicle traffic around them. On the other hand, pedestrians are distracted by their shopping haul or will walk through parking spots looking for their car.
While most of these accidents occur at relatively low speeds, the damages can be severe in any pedestrian accident, especially when children are involved. Children are prone to darting in between parked vehicles. There have also been many instances of them walking into vehicle blind spots, especially when the vehicles are reversing out of a parking spot.
What Can Be Done to Make Parking Lots Safer for Pedestrians?
According to Austin’s Transportation Department, there are no crosswalks in that area and only one small speedbump to force drivers to slow down for pedestrians. Due to the fact Southpark Meadows is a private development, the cost of any additional traffic control measures fall onto the property owners. However, maybe the city should put more stringent safety regulations on parking lots, given the high volume of shoppers that visit these areas each day and especially with the holidays approaching.