Pedestrians and valet workers: a hazardous mix.

Trust no driver.

Last weekend a valet worker at the Mohegan Sun Pocono casino struck a pedestrian with a car. Accidents like this happen with valets. Not often. But it happens. People have even been killed by valets.


As a former valet worker, I observed that people generally trust the other drivers in a valet staging area. And this just isn't smart.

Even I screwed up a couple times by exiting cars without making sure they were in "park" and not drive. The last time that happened I was in a giant hurry to get out of a BMW and run for another car. I shifted it too quickly and it didn't actually lock into park. A split-moment later I had to chase after the car before it t-boned a parked Bentley. (Close call! And SO embarrassing, since I'm supposed to be a professional at this.)

A lot of valets have great skills at moving cars, but you still can't trust that they won't make a mistake. 

Where I worked, years before I was hired, a car drifted into the legs of a valet who was getting luggage out of a trunk. His legs were crushed. And he later died from complications with his injuries. So valet workers should not be complacent on the ramp either.

(I came very close to having my foot run over by an impatient, jerk guest. I swung my foot out of the way just in time.)

In just doing a Google News search with the word "pedestrian," it's fairly surprising to see how many pedestrians accidents are happening.

New York City has many pedestrian knock down incidents. In a 2010 study they found that 80% of drivers involved in these accidents are male. And in 36% of the cases, driver inattention was cited as the cause. But that was 2010. Look around. People aren't looking at the road as much now. They are playing with their phones. It is more dangerous out there now.

According to the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention, every 2 hours in the United States there is a pedestrian death and every 7 minutes there is a pedestrian injury.

It is foolish to trust that drivers will see you and not run you over, or to assume that a person is a competent and fully aware driver.  

When it comes to valet services, a lot people complain about valets moving the seat. If a manager instructs workers not to move seats, this creates elevated danger to everyone who is walking around in the area. A valet who does not have a comfortable driving position could easily have difficulty with the pedals.

I'm reminded of the time I drove an old Land Rover. The pedal setup was funky. I was unable to move the seat, and even though I had driven thousands of other vehicles before this one, I learned too late that something was amiss with this truck. I went to stop it and pressed on the brake and the gas at the same time. There was a delay in my ability to figure out what was going on, so I stepped harder on both pedals. If people had been around, I might have hit them! And I had driven thousands of cars at this point.

There are many valet workers with very little experience. I think it is fairly easy for a valet worker to suddenly make a mistake with an unfamiliar vehicle.

Anyway, you can't trust that a valet won't run you over. And really, you can't trust anybody behind the wheel. Stay aware of what is going on around you.