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How employers can keep their parking lots safe

Employers in New Jersey who own offices or retail shops probably know all about the dangers associated with parking lots. In a poll involving nearly 2,500 drivers, the National Safety Council found that while 67 percent of drivers said they mostly fear drivers distracted by technology when in parking lots, 25 percent said that they themselves endangered drivers and pedestrians through technology use.

Since many drivers let their guard down once they enter a parking lot, the first thing that employers should do is create a traffic safety program for employees. Everyone should be aware of how pedestrians and motorists are expected to behave. They should be constantly reminded, through signs if necessary, to buckle up and never to text and drive.

There are no national safety standards for parking lot designs. Employers are encouraged to install raised crosswalks and rumble strips; as for speed bumps, these are liable to make distracted drivers lose control. Directional arrows and space markings should be clear and, if possible, painted with reflective paint.

Sufficient lighting is important, especially in parking garages. The entrance should be especially well-lit because drivers may be temporarily blinded when entering from bright sunlight. One-way aisles with angled parking lots are the safest. Pedestrians should also be encouraged to walk down the middle of the aisle, which is where they'll be the most visible.

If an accident does occur, the employee should report the crash and let the employer know that he or she will file for workers' compensation benefits. A lawyer could come in and assist with the filing process.

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