Traffic accidents in the parking lots of Salt Lake Community College may not be considered the most dangerous threat on campus but they have become a major concern. The Utah Highway Patrol reports that in 2009 there were 108 collisions reported on the Taylorsville Redwood, South City, and Meadowbrook campuses. Accidents are bound to happen given the amount of commuters coming to SLCC every day, but the UHP estimates that approximately 60 percent of those accidents were preventable.
Lt. Jeff Willmore of the UHP concedes that traffic accidents in SLCC parking lots rarely lead to injuries, with only three accidents leading to injuries last year. However, there are other costs from these accidents.
“Damaged vehicles translate into insurance claims, out of pocket expenses, and higher insurance premiums. Out of pocket expenses and higher insurance premiums can result in additional stress to a students financial budget. Reduction of traffic collisions can prevent additional financial stresses,” Willmore says.
While drivers may not usually be in danger of injuries resulting from traffic accidents, pedestrians certainly are. Willmore stresses that both pedestrians and drivers need to be aware of the dangers around them. Drivers need to yield to pedestrians crossing the street and pedestrians need to make sure they use crosswalks.
“Pedestrians should understand when using a marked crosswalk [that] they have a measure of protection in the sense that drivers are required to yield to them. Drivers need to be aware that they are required by state statute to yield to a pedestrian in a cross walk who is crossing in the same lane the driver is traveling in,” says Willmore.
Willmore suggests a few simple ways to help cut down on accidents and protect your car. “In 2009 the major causes of traffic collisions were improper backing and failure to yield right of way. Improper backing collisions can be reduced by simply taking the time to look both ways when backing out of a parking stall and being aware of your surroundings, especially [when] vehicles are in your vicinity,” Willmore says.
Additionally, The UHP’s data shows that drivers failing to obey the posted speed limit resulted in accidents. “Obeying the speed limit of 10 miles-per-hour in parking lots can assist a driver to avoid another driver of a vehicle who is backing out of a parking stall and may not be aware of vehicles in the area,” says Willmore.
In the event that a student is involved in an accident on the Taylorsville Redwood, South City, or Meadowbrook campuses, they are encouraged to contact the Utah Highway Patrol at 801-957-3800, or 3800 from any SLCC phone. When a trooper arrives at the site of the accident, be prepared to provide a driver’s license, registration, and proof of insurance. The faster law enforcement is called, the faster they can respond to the scene and conduct an investigation. If anyone has been injured in an accident, they should dial 911 immediately. If a driver collides with an unattended car, they are required by law to at least post a written note on the damaged car with their name, address, and vehicle registration number.