blog home Premises Liability Watch Out for Cars Crashing Into Businesses

By Renee Nordstrand on July 3, 2018

red car crashing into ironworks busines

While we know that we take certain risks by getting behind the wheel of a car every day, there is a rare danger of being struck by a vehicle while sitting in front of the TV, eating at a restaurant, browsing in a retail store, or being at work.

Across the United States, there are about 60 collisions involving vehicles and buildings every day, often resulting in serious injuries and deaths.

In Buena Park, California, a man accidentally put his car in drive instead of reverse and rammed into a Farrell’s Ice Cream Parlor, killing a woman and severely injuring her two children. Though the children healed physically, the mental scars they bear are lifelong. The woman’s husband, then Mayor Pro Tem of Artesia, has since dedicated his time towards avoiding these tragedies through education and city planning.

Who Tends to Hit Buildings?

Drivers who are elderly record the highest number of collisions involving a vehicle striking a building, according to research by the Storefront Safety Council. Although California has 400,000 more licensed drivers than Florida does, Florida consistently reports more storefront crashes—17% of the total storefront crashes in the United States. The assumption is that Florida’s population over 65 years old contributes to this number, but more research is needed.

However, the problem is not confined to age. Drivers between 20 and 29 years of age account for 20% of storefront crashes in the U.S., and almost every other age group contributes between 8% and 10% to the total number of accidents every year.

Why Do Drivers Hit Buildings?

The most common cause of vehicles crashing into buildings is operator error, which accounts for 30% of these collisions. Operator error includes things like driving too fast, not being able to react to road conditions or other vehicles, distracted driving, and falling asleep at the wheel.

The next cause, pedal errors by drivers, accounts for 26% of storefront collisions. The example used above, where the man accidentally hit the gas instead of the brake, would count as a pedal error.

In addition, drivers who are impaired by drugs or alcohol cause about 17% of vehicle-building collisions. The final reported reasons for storefront crashes are a traffic accident that pushes one car into a building, a medical emergency on the part of the driver, or a “ram-raid” robbery.

Ultimately, these collisions are largely caused by drivers who go too fast, drink too much, or make avoidable mistakes while behind the wheel. As such, these drivers may be held liable if they injure or kill a person walking along a sidewalk or sitting inside a building.

Though these cases can be complex, an experienced Santa Barbara car accident attorney at NordstrandBlack PC will be able to help explain your legal options if you are injured by a car crashing into a building. Call us at (805) 962-2022 to discuss your case in a free consultation.

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