Each year during the holiday season, motor vehicle crashes kill hundreds of people and injure thousands more at shopping centers in Tennessee and around the country.

Insurance companies report a spike in claims starting on Black Friday, which remain above normal until after New Year’s Day. The actual number of accidents is likely much higher as many fender benders go unreported.

Pedestrians and drivers are more distracted

The National Safety Council (NSC) says there are many more distractions for everyone during the holiday season, as people are in a hurry to get to the next location as they work on their shopping lists. Nearly one out of every 10 pedestrian deaths in the U.S. is the result of a vehicle backing up. That led the NSC to survey drivers on their habits while driving in parking lots and garages. The results are alarming:

  • 63%: Routinely adjust GPS and climate controls
  • 56%: Compose, send and read text messages
  • 52%: Check Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and other social media accounts
  • 50%: Read and send emails
  • 49%: Watch videos on their cellphones and take pictures

An over-reliance on technology

While everyone generally agrees carmakers have made distinct safety improvements to vehicles with new technology, such as backup cameras, blind spot sensors and other gadgets, some drivers forget necessary common-sense procedures, such as:

  • Looking over their shoulder and using mirrors when backing out of a parking space
  • Conducting a quick inspection of their surroundings before getting into their car, looking for people and low-lying obstacles
  • Pulling forward out of a parking space when possible
  • Not cutting across traffic lanes when driving through parking lots

Understand your rights if you are injured

Hundreds of thousands of people are injured each year as a result of motor vehicle crashes. If you are hurt, you have one year from the date of the accident to file a personal injury lawsuit in Tennessee. The state has specific laws related to personal injury claims, which can be complicated. An experienced attorney can help you receive a favorable outcome.