Don’t sit by the Window

April 17, 2018

Dangers of the Storefront Window

You may have never thought about being in danger sitting in your local coffee shop or restaurant. You may have never considered being at risk stopping at a convenience store or shopping center. 

But the hazard that I’m speaking about is not the one that we usually think about. We know to be aware of criminals. We are all aware of terrorist attacks.

But what about getting hit by a car while inside an establishment? You may see one on the news. An elderly lady hits the wrong pedal and rockets into a coffee shop. Or a car loses control and plunges into a storefront window. These are often called “freak accidents.” 

They seem quite rare. Well, until you look at the numbers. Cars hit buildings 60 times a day.  There are 500 deaths and 3,600 injuries per year. The Storefront Safety Counsel collects crash data on these incidents. 

In one, an SUV, driven by an 81-year-old man who suffered a stroke, had sped through the parking lot of a Chicopee, Massachusetts store and smashed into the front, pushing a 43-year-old woman through a wall and killing her. 

Storefront crashes are more common than many people think. Statistically, grandpa who is still driving is far more likely to kill us than a terrorist.

For example, 10 people were hurt, including a 5-year-old girl who suffered serious head injuries, when an SUV slammed into a Little Caesars Pizza shop in Los Angeles.

An east coast convenience store chain reported 485 “car strikes’’ between 2000 and 2009 at its 500 convenience stores

The familiar 7-Eleven chain once disclosed having more than 1,500 incidents just over a seven-year period. Buffalo Wild Wings, Starbucks and Dunkin’ Donuts have all had notable incidents. 

Many safety experts say that for a modest cost — often $10,000 or less — barriers can be installed that give customers, employees and pedestrians substantial protection from vehicles that otherwise might jump a curb and careen into a store. 

In fact, barriers known as “bollards” posts, typically made of steel and often filled with concrete, already are a familiar sight beside vulnerable sections of shopping centers. 

Target shoppers will be familiar with the giant red balls in front of their storefronts. Unfortunately, they have caused problems they were meant to solve. In one famous case, a truck nudged one and the 4,000-pound ball careened down through the parking lot hitting motorists. 

Commercial property owners and managers should be aware that more and more foreseeability of these incidents has created a duty for them to address the protection of their customers and employees. 

Mr. Peel seeks justice for those injured in motorcycle, truck and car accidents, disability and medical malpractice. He often addresses churches, clubs and groups without charge. Mr. Peel may be reached through wherein other articles may be accessed.

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