Saying you’re sorry isn’t enough if you’ve accidentally dinged another vehicle with yours in a parking lot. (Lachlan Labere - Salmon Arm Observer)

Column: Parking lot hit and runs and a lack of accountability

In Plain View by Lachlan Labere

Eight months.

That’s how long it took before occupants of another vehicle left their mark on our family’s new-to-us car as while parked at a local shopping mall.

Given my luck with these types of hit and runs in Salmon Arm, I expected it to happen much sooner.

Over the nine-or-so years we owned our previous car, it received multiple dents, dings and scratches while parked in public parking lots in town.

There was one time a fellow who was backing out from a spot at a local grocery store rear-ended the back of our car. I honked my horn and we had a chat. That was the only time I’ve ever caught anyone. Generally though, the damage is done when I’m away from the vehicle, and those responsible are never seen or heard from.

I contacted a local autobody shop and was told these types of hit and runs happen often, but not everyone seeks to get them repaired due to the cost. Understandable, given how even a $200 to $300 deductible (depending on your insurance policy), can seem like a lot for a small ding.

Read more: Budget 2020: ICBC ‘dumpster fire’ to turn into $86M surplus, NDP say

Read more: Shopping cart collector at B.C. Costco awarded $583,000 after getting pinned by car

For those who have been the victim of any hit and run, the legal community and ICBC advise you attempt to identify the responsible party, report the incident to police if necessary (particularly if it involves injury or you have identified a suspect), and file a claim with ICBC within six months.

As for those responsible for hitting/damaging an unattended vehicle, the Motor Vehicle Act states you must stop and notify its owner/driver in person of the damage, or leave them a letter, including your name and contact information, as well as your licence plate number, on the vehicle or in a conspicuous place.

Years back, I did find one such letter on my car after it was dinged in a Kamloops parking lot. It was signed by then B.C. Liberal MLA Kevin Kreuger. I guess it’s more difficult to get away with something like that when you’re a public figure, but still, with the hit and run seemingly the norm, it’s nice to see some accountability.

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