A truly tragic, fatal accident on Sunday morning has left an extended family grieving. At approximately 7:45 am, Francisco Flores Rodriguez, Georgina Perez Gomez, and Francisco Javier Flores Perez were hit by a Ford SUV at Rand Road, near Mt. Prospect Road. All three family members perished in the crash, thought the driver of the SUV survived with minimal injuries.
The investigation into what happened is ongoing, though “the Cook County medical examiner’s office had ruled the three deaths accidental, the result of multiple injuries from a motor vehicle collision,” per the Daily Herald. Police are asking witnesses to come forward if they have information.
Shopping plazas are dangerous places to drive
The family was out running errands that morning, according to ABC 7. The area around Rand Road has a lot of shopping plazas, and that can create dangers for drivers for several reasons.
Increased numbers of pedestrians
Shopping centers, by default, have a lot of pedestrians. In some areas, there are also wide medians and turning signals that are designed to help keep pedestrians safe, but may create confusion for cars turning in or out of a plaza.
Increased numbers of cars entering and existing the roadway
When you’re traveling next to a shopping mall, you run the risk of being hit by a driver who is trying to enter or exit the mall. Larger shopping malls often have dedicated lanes to entrances and exits, but outdoor shopping centers may not. What they do often have is a complicated series of turn signals – and people who are impatient to start (or finish) their shopping.
The rules of the road are unclear in the plaza itself
Most shopping centers are private property, and as such, the rules of the road may not be enforceable by law. The stop sign the mall owner puts up, or the crosswalks that lead from the parking lot to the strip mall? They’re there to make sure people are being safe, but they’re not necessarily enforced the same way a stop sign on a public road would be. That’s because Illinois requires that shopping center properties enter into a contract with a local municipality or county if they want “official” help regarding traffic or parking:
[The] owner of any… shopping center… which controls a parking area located within the limits of the municipality, or outside the limits of the municipality and within the boundaries of the county, may, by contract, empower the municipality or county to regulate the parking of automobiles and the traffic at such parking area. Such contract shall empower the municipality or county to accomplish all or any part of the following:
- The erection of stop signs, flashing signals, person with disabilities parking area signs or yield signs at specified locations in a parking area and the adoption of appropriate regulations thereto pertaining, or the designation of any intersection in the parking area as a stop intersection or as a yield intersection and the ordering of like signs or signals at one or more entrances to such intersection, subject to the provisions of this Chapter.
- The prohibition or regulation of the turning of vehicles or specified types of vehicles at intersections or other designated locations in the parking area.
- The regulation of a crossing of any roadway in the parking area by pedestrians.
- The designation of any separate roadway in the parking area for one-way traffic….
Even if they are enforced, most drivers think shopping center stop signs and crosswalks are “suggestions,” not commands – and that means you should be on the lookout for reckless behaviors by your fellow drivers.
Driver can be easily distracted while in a shopping center
There are a lot of moving parts in any shopping center, whether it’s an outdoor strip mall like Randhurst Village, or the Woodfield Mall over in Schaumburg. Prowling around in the parking lot aisles looking for a spot while trying to avoid hitting shoppers who are more concerned with finding their vehicles than paying attention to who’s driving towards them is complicated at best, and dangerously distracting at worse. It’s also frustrating, as any person who has ever lost a spot to another, faster car can attest.
At Gainsberg Law, P.C. we want you to be safe while on the road. If you are injured in a car accident anywhere is the greater Chicagoland area, or if your loved one dies as a result of a crash, we want to help. Call our office at 312-600-9585 or complete a contact form to schedule a consultation today.