The holidays are a time for families to celebrate and share the spirit of giving with loved ones and others. However, statistics show this time of year can be deadly for many people who head out to local shopping centers.

The National Safety Council (NSC) says tens of thousands of crashes happen this time of year in parking lots and garages across the nation, resulting in hundreds of deaths and thousands of serious injuries. Insurance companies say claims rise dramatically, starting on Black Friday.

Drivers focus on gadgets instead of driving

The NSC says 9% of all pedestrian deaths are the result of vehicles backing up and striking them. Last year, more pedestrians (6,283) died than in any year since 1990. The council recently surveyed drivers on their behavior in parking lot facilities and found some alarming results:

  • 49% say they routinely watch videos on their cellphones or take pictures while driving
  • 50% read, compose and send emails
  • 52% check their social media accounts and regularly post
  • 56% read and send texts
  • 63% adjust climate controls and GPS systems while moving

Safety isn’t guaranteed by driving slowly or through technology

While carmakers have made significant improvements to safety on newer vehicles with backup cameras, blind spot sensors and other technology, safety experts warn drivers against relying solely on those devices when driving. They urge drivers to take additional steps to improve safety, including:

  • Not cutting across parking lots
  • Use your turn signals and drive slowly
  • Obey stop signs and no-parking signs
  • Look for pedestrians and other vehicles
  • Watch for small children and parents with baby strollers
  • Look over your shoulder and use your mirrors when backing up

Rely on knowledgeable legal advice if you are injured

Thousands of people suffer extreme physical and financial consequences due to distracted drivers each year in Georgia and across the United States. If you or someone you love has been hurt by another person’s negligence, an experienced and aggressive personal injury attorney will fight to help you receive the compensation you deserve.