In the United States, thousands of accidents happen in parking lots every year. If the accident is between two cars, it is likely that property damage will be the primary or only result. However, if the accident involves a pedestrian or a cyclist and an automobile, the results can be catastrophic. A dangerous parking lot can negatively impact your business, leave you vulnerable in lawsuits, or cost you money in fines and penalties.
What Are the Federal Regulations for Parking Lot Safety?
As a rule, the federal government does not issue regulations for parking lots that are on private property. However, there are three situations that could potentially be covered by federal statutes. The first involves the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, which considers a parking lot as part of an employer’s premises for determining whether an injury is work-related. An employee completing an assigned task in the parking lot would be covered, but it is also possible that an employee who is injured while walking through the parking lot to begin work would be covered as well. The second situation relates to HUD properties. HUD considers parking lots as common areas, and all common areas must be properly maintained so that they are safe. The final federal law to consider is the Americans with Disabilities Act. Particular attention should be given to the statutory requirements for slope, grade, surfacing, obstacles, signage, accessible routes, and low-hanging objects.
What Are the State and Local Regulations for Parking Lot Safety?
States, towns, and counties are free to enact their own regulations for parking lot safety, so you would need to determine which laws apply at your address. Local and state regulations vary widely, but they frequently address speed limits, fire lanes, speed bump design and placement, signage and turning radius at exits to public streets, and crosswalks. They may also impose special requirements for parking lots serving apartment complexes, hospitals, and educational facilities.
Regulations Aside, What Is the Best Way to Enhance Parking Lot Safety?
Trustworthy, experienced contractors already know the regulations that might apply to your location, and they already know the steps to take to enhance safety in your parking lot. Here are a few of the things your contractor will probably recommend.
1. Take immediate action to repair potholes, major cracks, misaligned wheel stops, or other problems that could cause pedestrians to injure themselves. The longer you go without addressing a potential hazard, the more likely you are to lose in a lawsuit filed by an injured pedestrian or cyclist.
2. Line striping, signs, and pavement markings need to be visible, easily recognizable, and properly located. Replace or repair them if they are damaged or faded.
3. Maintain your asphalt sealcoating. Sealcoating mixes contain silica sand, and this enhances traction. Pedestrians will be less likely to slip, and drivers will have less trouble avoiding skids.
4. Keep trees, shrubs, and other vegetation neatly trimmed to eliminate potential hazards. An errant vine could trip a pedestrian, an overgrown shrub could scratch a customer’s vehicle, or a low-hanging tree limb could injure a pedestrian or damage a vehicle.
5. Install and maintain effective lighting. Place powerful lights so that dark shadows that could conceal dangerous objects or criminals are eliminated. Have your employees who work the night shift check all the lights in your parking lot to ensure that they are all operational.
6. Ask your contractor to evaluate your parking lot design for safety. The parking angle, the use of one-way or two-way traffic aisles, the presence of raised islands to prevent drivers from parking at the end of parking rows, and the use of bollards or other physical devices to prevent vehicles from encroaching on sidewalks are all possible methods for improving safety. Your contractor can also advise you on how to design your parking lot to ensure compliance with the ADA.
Royal Pavement Solutions would be happy to help you make your parking lot a safer place for everyone. We offer a number of paving services, including asphalt milling, parking lot striping, asphalt paving, crack repairs, sealcoating, site work, asphalt repair, and concrete work. We are a highly regarded company with a commitment to customer service, craftsmanship, and professionalism. If you are interested in obtaining a free quote, you can request one by submitting the online form. If you prefer to discuss your paving needs in more detail, you can call 844-777-7924.