Unsafe Parking Lot Design Contributes to Fatal Storefront Car Crash


Parking Lot SafetyThis case involves a motor vehicle that drove through a storefront at a high rate of speed, fatally wounding a shopper at a large retail outlet. At the time of the incident in question, the decedent had just entered the store when she was struck from behind by the Defendant’s vehicle. According to the Defendant, he lost control of his vehicle while driving in the parking lot, causing him to drive into the unprotected glass storefront at a very high rate of speed. It is alleged that the parking lot was negligently designed, and that the storefront should have been protected with bollards or other safety devices to prevent vehicles from entering the store.

Question(s) For Expert Witness

  • 1. Please briefly describe your familiarity with the subject matter discussed above.
  • 2. Are specific barriers (bollards or any other safety guards) industry standard in parking lots / sidewalks in areas of high pedestrian traffic in order to prevent accidents like this from occurring?

Expert Witness Response E-055442

Expert-ID: E-055442

I am extremely familiar with the subject matter. Statistically speaking this happens about 60 times a day, and these incidents are completely predictable, probable, and preventable. Barriers such as bollards or safety guards are the emerging industry standard in parking lots / sidewalks in areas of high pedestrian traffic in order to prevent accidents like this from occurring. Large retailers have adopted this standard, and there are a number of parking paving/design companies who also have made this a mandatory addition to their work if a barrier is not already present.  I have been published and lectured on the topic of bollard type barriers and how crucial they are for public safety.

Expert Witness Response E-055589

Unless the governmental entity where the accident occurred has an ordinance requiring something like a bollard, guidelines I am familiar with are only recommendations.  However, if this restaurant experienced the same type of accident before (or if it is a chain, and other stores in the chain experienced this problem) then it may be possible to show that the owner(s) had prior knowledge of a problem but took no action to correct the problem.  I do see more and more locations with bollards in front of their main entrances (usually convenience stores), but you have to be careful with them because if you install something that is too rigid, you could end up causing an injury to the driver of the car.  I am not aware of any other device that is in substantial use for this type of situation.

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