Image courtesy KOMONews.com
A Mitsubishi Endeavor shot through the plate glass wall of the Hyatt Hotel in Bellevue last night after the driver attempted to avoid a collision with another car, according to a news report from KOMO news. The hood of the vehicle crumpled like a used napkin when it met with the cement wall of the hotel, but its airbags didn’t deploy and no one was hurt.
And while the average Hollywood stuntman probably dreams about crashing recklessly into a hotel lobby, most of the time these accidents – called “vehicle-into-building crashes” or “storefront crashes” – do result in pretty serious injuries. Unsuspecting shoppers and pedestrians are defenseless against these vehicular surges.
It’s difficult to tabulate these vehicle-into-building crashes as discrete statistics for they aren’t formally tracked or reported on, but researchers with the Texas A&M Transportation Institute recently released the results of a study that analyzed media reports and legal cases to gather information about the issue.
The common assumption is that these outrageous sorts of accidents can’t happen very often. We would be so much more aware of them as a population if they were. But over a two month period in 2013, the Texas A&M researchers found that there were more than 300 vehicle-into-building crashes. These crashes were reported in the media, not hidden in a dry PDF of statistics.
What Causes Vehicle-into-Building Crashes?
We’re all far more susceptible to them than we know. Five vehicle-into-building collisions happen every day in the United States. Minimum. But what does that actually look like?
Take for instance that, on average, a car crashes into a 7-Eleven every day. It’s easy to imagine a car punching through the convenience chain’s ubiquitous broad glass front. Another chain, Cumberland Farms, which has far fewer stores than 7-Eleven, sees a proportional number of vehicle-into-building crashes. The ratios between number of stores and number of storefront crashes are roughly the same. What’s the factor between the correlations?
One of the main contributing factors appears to be related to parking lot design and layout. Vehicles park at right angles to the stores. If these drivers are distracted for even a second, there’s a good chance they could end up parked inside the store. And this is just one of numerous factors that cause these daily—nearly hourly—accidents that cause at least $6,000,000 dollars in damage every year.
If you have been injured or you lost a loved one in a storefront accident contact the Davis Law Group at 206-727-4000 for a free consultation to discuss your legal options. Our legal team has a great deal of experience handling wrongful death and personal injury cases that were caused by a vehicle crashing into a business in Washington State.