Parking Lot Safety Expert Opines on Accident Caused by Dangerous Speed Bump

    Parking lot safety expert witnessThis case involves a man who suffered substantial injuries after tripping on a dangerous speed bump. At the time of the incident in question, the man was returning to his car with several bags of groceries in hand. The man eventually came upon a speed bump in the shopping center parking lot, which was apparently very high and was the same color as the surrounding surface of the parking lot. The man then tripped on the speed bump, causing him to fall and strike his head on a curb. As a result, the man now suffers from permanent brain damage.

    Question(s) For Expert Witness

    • 1. Please describe your parking lot design experience, with specific regards to speed bumps.
    • 2. What is the proper design criteria for speed bumps in parking lots?

    Expert Witness Response E-002747

    I have 30+ years experience as a Professional Engineer. I have designed and supervised construction of hundreds of site developments. I have owned an Engineering firm since 1991 and I have designed and/or oversaw construction of hundreds of site developments, almost all included some parking lot designs. Since 2001 have performed more than 5000 insurance claim investigations including at least 50 slip, trip or falls in parking lots or sidewalks. If the parking lot is used for pedestrian traffic then the device needs to meet safe walking standards, ASTM F1637. The drive lane is considered a walkway unless there is a specific sidewalk to separate pedestrian traffic from vehicles. Other codes and standards may apply depending on the location of the walking surface to the building and the public way. There are standards and codes that address the contrast requirements of any hazard that may be an issue. The use of speed bumps is something I didn’t design or detail as I felt they were a substantial hazard and risk to pedestrian safety. If the parking lot is located in a shopping area, people are likely to be carry bags and the use of speed bumps is even more hazardous as there are issues of attention to traffic and restricted field of vision. The heights and slope are detailed in ICC building codes as well as NFPA LS101. Speed humps have standards as well and are site specific. ASTM F1637 is the standard that will apply and there is no relief for a pedestrian walking surface not to be planar and without significant changes in elevation.

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