February 15, 2024

Vehicle-into-Building Crashes Remain Dangerous

It’s an odd thing to become known for something that happened out of the blue. But when a car crashed into me as I emerged from a 7-Eleven store in 2008, and I discovered how common such “vehicle-into-building” crashes were, I realized I would have to help sound the alarm and search for solutions.

Despite many media interviews and years of off-and-on collaboration with other helpers, these crashes persist. It’s frustrating for any of us who have spent time trying to bring about change. The one person I know who has so far proven indefatigable in pushing property owners, large retailers, and insurance companies to take the phenomenon seriously is Rob Reiter.

Rob and I cofounded the Storefront Safety Council back in about 2012. He has done more than 95% of the heavy lifting ever since, tracking crashes, collecting data, and testifying as an expert witness in many trials brought by attorneys seeking compensation for their clients who were injured (or worse) in these incidents.

My limited role has been writing occasional articles and appearing in TV, radio and print interviews, usually when a rash of storefront crashes somewhere in the U.S. drew reporters’ attention. (If you are a reporter or producer working on such a story, I remain willing to help in any way I can — but Rob is the real safety expert.)

The website you are visiting now, StorefrontCrashes.com, started as my original blog, where I documented as many of these crashes as I could find for quite a while before I was introduced to Rob. His systematic approach over the years led to the data you can now find at StorefrontSafety.org. My blog eventually became outdated as I turned to other pursuits in life.

Today, the cause remains as urgent and important as ever. That I can devote only pieces of my time to it is no reflection on its significance. As you can see from the stats, many people are injured week after week, and a tragic number of victims lose their lives.

The causes of these crashes can be complicated, but the solutions are straightforward — the simplest being for property owners to install bollards to keep cars from crashing into their buildings.

Human beings are fragile and easily injured or killed when struck by a vehicle. I was fortunate to survive my encounter in 2008. A few surgeries and nine months of recovery later, I was able to go on with my life. Not all are so lucky. Some lose limbs. Some lose their lives. That’s an obscene price to pay for someone else’s mistake.

So, if you’re a property owner — or anyone in a position to protect people from being hit — visit StorefrontSafety.org and reach out to start a conversation today.

Storefront Safety Council website home page