Our readers may recall that one late night in August, a man drove his car through the front entrance of a Cincinnati-area Walmart. Fortunately, the car was stopped by a pallet of water before it got too far inside, and no one was seriously injured. The driver has since been charged with operating a vehicle while intoxicated (OVI), driving on a suspended license and vandalism.
More recently, a driver crashed into the popular Alabama Fish Bar in the Over The Rhine neighborhood of Cincinnati. Multiple employees and two customers were inside the restaurant when the vehicle struck.
Many people assume that crashes like these are rare. In fact, according to the group Storefront Safety Council, they’re more common than you’d think. It estimates there are about 60 such crashes every day across the country. However, they acknowledge that their information is based on media reports because there is no specific data, even from federal agencies like the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Crashes that involve significant damage and/or injuries like the one at Walmart, Alabama Fish Bar, or the tragic incident this summer in which actress Anne Heche suffered fatal injuries and destroyed a home get media coverage. However, many do not.
The primary reasons – and culprits – aren’t what you might expect
Drugs and alcohol are behind some of these crashes. These apparently aren’t the primary causes, though. One of Storefront Safety Council’s founders says that driver error is responsible for most of them. People mistake the accelerator for the brake or believe the car is in reverse when it’s not.
Contrary to another popular belief, elderly people are not the cause of most of these driver errors. The Storefront Safety Council founder says, “The actual incidents are pretty evenly spread across the whole driving population.” Fewer than 40% involve people in their 60s or older.
The group’s other founder was seriously injured when a driver who failed to brake rammed their car, with him caught on the hood, into a 7-Eleven. He says that even when injuries in this type of crash aren’t life-threatening, “they’re almost always life-changing.”
Barricades can help, but not always
More stores and other properties are putting bollards and other barricades up to prevent cars from crashing inside. These can, no doubt, prevent some injuries and damage. However, the Walmart that was the scene of the August crash had bollards at the entrance that the driver managed to get around
If you’ve suffered injuries caused by a reckless, negligent or impaired driver, make sure you get the compensation you need to cover both short-term and long-term expenses and damages.