Tis the season for parking lot accidents

By JB Clark/NEMS Daily Journal

Drivers have officially started thinking about last-minute Christmas shopping and are paying less attention in parking lots.
Statistics from the Tupelo Police Department between 2010 and 2012 show 50 to 70 accidents happen in parking lots across the city most months. During the months of November and December, those numbers jump to between 60 and 80.
In a two-month period, like February through March of 2010, 130 accidents were recorded in Tupelo parking lots. Compare that to November and December of 2011, where 147 parking lot accidents were reported.
Richard Carleton, chief of security at The Mall at Barnes Crossing, said slowing down mentally and physically when entering a parking lot can save everyone time and money.
“Pay attention and don’t get tunnel vision,” he said. “We have a speed limit and stop signs and they’re not just for the fun of it. It’s for your safety.”
This year, if in an accident takes place at the mall or the North Mississippi Medical Center, each entity has security that will be sent out to take a report instead of Tupelo police.
Carleton said mall security be reached directly at (662) 844-6787 or those involved can call 911 and security will be dispatched.
“We’ll come out and provide a two-part, carbon-copy form to everyone involved and we’ll fill out a basic report with enough information to give to the insurance company,” Carleton said. “The form gives a place to take down each driver’s information and tell where the damage is, leaving the rest up to the insurance company.”
Tupelo’s police don’t respond to parking lots that are on private property. However, the forms are provided as a courtesy.
At smaller parking lots without security, police will be dispatched to provide those involved in an accident with the courtesy report for their insurance companies.
Carleton said if someone hits a car and the owner isn’t there, security can begin the report and finish with the owner returns.
“Be a good citizen and person and let people know you hit their car,” he said. “They know you didn’t do it on purpose – that’s why it’s called an accident. If you’re not going to contact us, at least leave a note on their car with your name and number.”
jb.clark@journalinc.com