3 killed and a like number injured. And it didn't have to be this way.
#storefrontcrash #60timesperday #unprotected #negligence #riskmanagement #riskassessment
On 12 June, 2021, a high speed vehicle was coming off a highway overpass at a very high rate of speed -- pointed directly at an UNPROTECTED Biomat USA Plasma Donation Center in Pittsburgh PA. As of this writing, 3 people have died, and at least that many injured either as a result of the crash or the fire that resulted. Here is a link to the story: https://www.cbs17.com/news/national-news/3-dead-2-injured-after-driver-crashes-car-into-building-in-pittsburgh/
The vehicle's point of entry is through a large window area just to the left of the front entrance. The vehicle was moving at such a high rate of speed, it passed through the outer wall and approximately 200 feet inside, some reports say. Now, storefront crashed occur more than 60 times per day in the United States, which is more than 20,000 incidents per year. Thousands are killed and injured as a result, so in that way this incident is not so unusual. EXCEPT -- look at the direction of approach that the vehicle took from the high speed overpass:
There is NOTHING between the overpass / offramp and the wall of that building except pavement and painted lines. Despite high speed vehicles being pointed directly at the front of the building, there is no vehicle barrier of any kind to prevent a storefront crash like this one, which is foreseeable because of the amount of traffic, the speed of traffic, and the line of approach of traffic. Negligence.
3 killed and a like number injured. And it didn't have to be this way.
#storefrontcrash #60timesperday #unprotected #negligence #riskmanagement #riskassessment
In October of 2015, a vehicle crashed into the HEB grocery store in the Gulfgate neighborhood of Houston, Texas. 8 people were struck in that incident, and one of them was killed. In January of 2021, just a little over 5 years later, another crash into a Houston grocery store, this time at the Fiesta Mart in the Sunnyside neighborhood. 8 more people struck in this latest incident, some seriously injured.
16 people struck by vehicles crashing right through the front doors of two grocery stores in the same city. The two stores are less than 7 miles apart. As you can see in the photo, the front entrance of the Fiesta Mart was completely UNPROTECTED. No safety barriers were installed to protect employees and customers, even though five years before there was a very high profile accident 7 miles away at a similar store.
We add 3,000 to 4,000 vehicle-into-building crashes to our database every year. We estimate that the actual number of storefront crashes is well over 20,000 per year. A large number of them involve supermarkets (like these two incidents) and some larger and many smaller grocery operations. Frequently, they occur at busy stores full of people, where the registers are placed very close to the front of the stores, and where there are lots of windows for people to see in and out. All grocery stores have parking lots, and it is usually a vehicle from the parking lot that crashes through the front doors. Every major chain has had a number of such crashes, with some responding with measures to protect customers and employees, and some failing to take any action at all.
The grocery industry has for many years been ON NOTICE that storefront crashes are a very real risk to employees and customers, that they happen every week in the United States, and that the cost of claims and settlements can be in the millions of dollars. HEB and others have already learned that lesson, and Fiesta Mart is about to. The accidents are foreseeable to both property owners and business operators and given that there has been notice, failure to take action to prevent future accidents and injuries will be seen as negligent.
Prevention of accidents is ALWAYS a better business decision than deciding to take no action at all.
"Share The Curb" -- Where Big Box Retail, Restaurants, Rideshare Providers and Small Businesses Will All Need to Be Creative and Keep People Safe
The rush to reopen restaurants has resulted in large numbers of documented cases where vehicles have crashed into outdoor dining and curbside dining spots in New York and a half a dozen other states. We have been tracking these incidents and including them in the Storefront Safety Council database. I was given a chance to offer a viewpoint about how the Covid pandemic has changed how property owners use their parking lots, how stores and restaurants use the sidewalk and curbs right in front of their entries, and how Big Box retailers and others have had to adapt to offer curbside delivery, drop off/pickup, and so many other forms of physical distancing.
Thanks to Kim Fernandez of Parking & Mobility Magazine for the chance to contribute and to post that viewpoint here.
Parking Lots, Public Spaces, Social Distancing, and Safety
By Rob Reiter
Six months into dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, Americans are finding ways to keep commerce moving amid many restrictions on use, occupancy, and physical spacing. In addition, the sharp drop in the use of public transportation has increased the pressures for re-purposing some very valuable real estate — curbs, parking lots, and parking structures.
Restaurants are expanding out onto sidewalks and curbside locations all over the United States; more than 8,000 permits have been issued in New York City alone. Exposure of diners and waitstaff to passing vehicles has already been documented with security camera footage from more than a half-dozen injury accidents since late June.
Restaurants are also expanding into their off-street parking areas–physical distancing requirements along with the attraction of fresh air and sunshine for people who have been staying home for so long have made such arrangements very popular. Some restaurants are handling this better than others.
Retailers of all stripes have jumped onto the curbside bandwagon at shopping malls, regional centers, and basic strip centers. Companies providing services for retailers report doubling and re-doubling of retailers offering it along with customers taking advantage of the convenience and safety that the service offers.
I expect that 2021 will see the start of a national campaign where “Share the Curb” will become a battle zone between restaurants, retailers, rideshare providers, and local merchants like salons and small retailers who want to keep parking near their stores convenient for their customers.
Read more about what this means for the parking industry and why safety is a big concern in this month’s issue of Parking & Mobility magazine.
Rob Reiter is co-founder of the Storefront Safety Council.
The first time I became aware of the hazards at Costco outdoor food courts was in 2007. In that year, there was a tragic accident at the Costco in Burbank California which left a store customer severely injured. Since 2007, I have become aware of dozens of accidents involving Costco customers injured or killed at Costco stores. As lawyers like to say, Costco is "on notice" that vehicles are a hazard to customers generally, and that, especially at outdoor food courts and store entrances, some form of impact-tested safety barrier is called for to prevent injuries should a vehicle for any reason drive into a pedestrian-only area.
Now by chance I saw a letter today to a local newspaper on the island of Kauai in Hawaii from a Costco customer, calling out the same problem. THIRTEEN YEARS LATER, COSTCO CONTINUES TO NEGLECT BASIC CUSTOMER SAFETY AT SOME OF THEIR STORES. Please take a minute to read the letter, pasted below this photo of the outdoor food court area at the store referred to in the letter:
Costco food court is accident waiting to happen
I would like to address a pedestrian-safety issue that endangers hundreds of people each day. Right here, on our beautiful island, there lurks a catastrophic accident waiting to happen. Each of us has probably stood in this line or sat at the provided picnic tables. The site of this potential tragedy that I am referring to is at our local Costco. The outdoor food court is the specific area of my concern.
I have personally visited this super store on other islands and the Mainland, noting that one glaring feature is missing from our Lihue store: there is nothing stopping a vehicle from driving into the seated and standing patrons at the food court. At other similar store locations, the use of bollards is applied. A bollard is a vertical pipe or pillar planted a few feet deep into the ground, showing about four feet above ground level.
Strategic placement of the bollard prevents the intrusion of an errant driver or malfunctioning vehicle from crushing unsuspecting patrons. Why do other store locations have bollards and not ours? I asked the local store managers and got the answer that “the bollards are not required by code.” So whose fault will it be when something does unfortunately happen at this location?
Do we need to have our Kaua‘i building code amended to require stores like this to install bollards for their customers’ protection? Please, let’s not wait for that to happen. It is my intention to expose this deficiency and for the store to rectify the problem. The protection of my and your ‘ohana is all I seek.
Roger W., Lawai
Sometimes One News Photo Can Tie Together Years of Statistics and Observations About Storefront crashes.
The Storefront Safety Council has been gathering raw data in the form of crash reports and other forms of documentation for almost a decade now. Our database is now well over 20,000 incidents, and the information gathered has enabled us to tell the story of storefront crashes in the US and Canada -- about their causes, the types of buildings and businesses that are struck, and the age and sex of the drivers involved.
Our current statistics show that in approximately 16% of all storefront crashes, impaired drivers are at fault. Whether alcohol or marijuana or illegal or prescription drugs, a little more than one in six crashes are a result of impaired driving.
This weekend, an impaired driver in Las Vegas crashed into the front of the Time Out Sports Bar. Police administered a breathalyser test and the result showed a blood alcohol level ALMOST DOUBLE the legal limit. It's not every day you get a single photo that shows cause and effect so clearly!
With One Simple Change, Landlords and Retailers can INCREASE SAFETY and REDUCE RISK From Trip & Fall Incidents and Storefront Crashes!
Many landlords and retailers use cheap replaceable posts for ADA signage because they are so frequently hit and damaged. You can see the bent-over ADA sign laying on the ground in this video from a recent storefront crash at a Starbucks in Illinois. The vehicle that crashed into the store drove right over the wheel stop and right over the sign before striking the unprotected glass storefront, causing several injuries to customers inside.
WHAT IF INSTEAD, the required ADA signage had been installed and protected inside an #ASTM #F3016 crash-tested safety bollard? This simple change is FULLY ADA-COMPLIANT. Two things result: reduction of risk stemming from the known hazard of pedestrian trip&fall injuries by eliminating the wheel stops, and, prevention of storefront crashes by placing crash-tested bollards as safety barrier at the end of each ADA spaces.
Here is the safer industry standard method -- fully ADA-compliant, free of trip hazards, and effective protection against wayward vehicles. Pedestrians win, landlords win, retailers win! Had this been deployed at the Starbucks store in the video above, no injuries to customers, no damage to the storefront, no wheel stops to trip over.
Win Win Win!
By Cass Steele
Every day around 60 drivers crash their cars into storefronts across the USA, causing thousands of dollars of damage while injuring (or even killing) innocent people. This statistic may shock you, but the crashes are more common than most people expect. A drunk driver can easily lose control of their car and crash into a building. A child left in an unattended car with the engine running can accidentally trip the transmission and send the car into a storefront. A disorientated person could easily hit the pedal instead of the brake.
This is a staggering amount of car crashes, and many of the accidents cause serious injuries and death… as well as millions of dollars’ worth of damage. But this is all completely preventable; safety experts say that stores can easily install barriers for less than $10,000, as Walmart has done. Here are three things that stores should consider if they want to encourage safe driving.
Use more than just wheel stops
Many retailers go for the cheap option of installing wheel stops at the end of parking spots, but in reality, this can cause more accidents than it prevents. This is because it is easy for people to trip over them, and cars can drive over them in less than a second. This means that the ramps could actually be causing more problems than they are preventing! For this reason, it is important to embrace more effective methods to prevent storefront crashes. There are lots of alternative options, and while they may cost slightly more than wheel ramps they can help to prevent tens of thousands of pounds of damage, so they are well worth the cost.
Stop using nose-in parking (or install barriers)
Nose-in parking means that cars are parked outside the front of the shop, which increases the chance of someone accidentally hitting the pedal and going through the window. If possible you can remove this parking to make your store safer, as this will vastly reduce the chance of someone accidentally hitting the accelerator and hitting the front of your store. If you can't remove your nose-in parking, you can install proper stone barriers to prevent cars from hitting the building. This may seem expensive initially, but it is much cheaper than replacing a damaged storefront! It also shows the public that you care about protecting them from storefront crashes.
Protect the customers
Keep track of your customers and how they are parking. If you notice any dangerous driving, consider putting up signs in your shop with useful driving safety tips (such as (always wear your seatbelt and don’t drive drunk) to reduce the chance of an accident. If you decide to do this, make sure that the signs stand out so that customers actually read them! You could also print off statistics about storefront crashes to help raise awareness of the issue. This will encourage your customers to drive safely, and it shows that your store is actively fighting against storefront crashes.
This is important for all stores across the US, but it is especially crucial for stores that have already had issues with storefront crashes. A pattern of accidents and injuries should always be addressed, especially if you think that another accident could happen in the future.
Cass Steele is a freelance writer and editor. A previous career in PR led her on many travels around the world but now she enjoys the comfort of working from home on a wide range of different projects. When not working she loves swimming, road trips with her kids and volunteering at the local animal shelter.
Who, in their right mind or otherwise, steals a vehicle and crashes it into a COUNTY COURT HOUSE to steal an ATM????
On the evening of April 25, 2014, then Artesia Mayor Pro Tem, Victor Manalo received word that his mother-in-law, Marisa and his three children, Isabel, Jack, and Amanda were involved in an accident at Farrell's Ice Cream Parlor in Buena Park, CA. While waiting in front of the restaurant, a man got into his car with his wife to leave.
The car, parked in a disabled parking spot, was facing the front of the restaurant. Instead of putting his car into reverse, he put it into drive, and he drove straight into the front of the restaurant, instantly killing Marisa and severely injuring my two daughters. His children recovered from their injuries, but the scars of that evening will be with them for the rest of their lives.
Now principal consultant at VManalo Consulting, Victor has assumed a leadership role with the Storefront Safety Council.
Victor along with experts from Calpipe Security Bollards, the Storefront Safety Council, and other security professionals will gather on Thursday, January 25, 2018 to discuss solutions to make cities safer and preventing future avoidable tragedies. Over 80 professionals from varying industries are expected to attend.
Welcome to the Storefront Safety Blog page. Here we will post articles relating to recent crashes, updates on new codes and standards along with various other pieces of information relating to storefront crashes and our mission.
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