AAA study: Pedestrian-parking lot accidents on the rise

BETHESDA, Md. (WJLA) - Parking lots have proven to be a dangerous place for pedestrians in Montgomery County.

According to a new AAA Mid-Atlantic study, 30 percent of pedestrian accidents in Montgomery County so far this year have happened in parking lots. That's well up from 2008, when that number was 22 percent.

Nationwide, 20 percent of all vehicle accidents happen in parking lots of shopping malls, shopping centers, supermarkets and big box stores. AAA Mid-Atlantic says poor lighting and blind spots are two contributing factors to the problem.

"These places can be fraught with danger because it's like a no-man's land," AAA Mid-Atlantic spokesman John Townsend said.

In 2012, Montgomery County experienced a 34 percent spike in vehicle-pedestrian collisions in parking lots and parking garages.

AAA Mid-Atlantic says Montgomery County is one of the few areas in the country to track this trend.

No one knows why the number of pedestrians getting struck by cars in the county is on the rise, but there are some obvious factors. They include people walking alongside moving cars, cars driving too fast through parking lots and an abundance of blind spots.

In addition, officials point out that law enforcement officials don't patrol parking lots, so some drivers use that freedom to speed or take shortcuts.

Pedestrians are partly to blame as well, AAA says. Officials encourage walkers to keep their eyes and ears open as they move through parking lots.

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