The possibility of being hit by a car while inside a building rarely crosses anyone’s mind. We tend to think that pedestrian accidents can only occur while walking down the street, using a crosswalk, or while crossing at an intersection.
Crash data compiled by the Storefront Safety Council (SSC) shows that an average of 60 cars crash into buildings each day across the United States. These types of crashes may cause up to 500 fatalities and 4,000 injuries each year.
Here are some local incidents recently reported:
- In February, the driver of a pickup truck crashed into a Little Ceasar’s pizza restaurant in Portland, according to The Oregonian. The crash resulted in traffic being halted and a gas line being shut down due to a gas leak. The driver sustained non-life-threatening injuries and was treated at a nearby hospital. No other injuries were reported. Officials were unsure what caused the crash.
- Only days before the pickup truck crash, a Tesla car malfunctioned and crashed into a building in Woodland, according to KOIN. The driver sustained minor injuries, but no other injuries were reported.
- In early March, a driver crashed into a Red Robin restaurant in Clackamas, according to KOIN. The driver reportedly hit the gas instead of the brakes. One family was seated near the window where the crash occurred. They barely escaped being struck. Several customers were hit by debris and sustained minor injuries. Nobody was taken to the hospital, however.
Cars into buildings crash causes
According to the SSC, driver error is the number one cause of crashes involving cars and buildings, accounting for roughly 22 percent of all incidents. This often includes distracted driving, speeding, aggressive driving, and drowsy driving.
Pedal errors account for 19 percent of all incidents (as what happened at the Red Robin in Clackamas). This happens when a driver mistakes the gas pedal for the brakes.
Other common causes include drunk or drugged driving (16 percent of all incidents), traffic collisions (10 percent), medical events (9 percent), ramraid burglaries (6 percent). Other causes not mentioned by the SSC could include slippery road conditions and car defects (such as brake failure, wheel detachment, and steering wheel issues).
Which buildings are most at risk?
About 35 percent of all crashes into buildings involve retail stores, according to the SSC. In addition:
- 28% occur in restaurants
- 16% occur in commercial buildings
- 13% occur in offices
- 8% occur in convenience stores
Many of these buildings aren’t protected by barriers and bollards. In addition, drivers are able to park directly in front of areas where windows and doors are located. This increases the risk of a car-building crash due to a pedal error.
If you or a loved one sustained injuries while inside of a building, the Portland pedestrian accident attorneys at Zbinden & Curtis, Attorneys at Law can help you pursue justice. We know that pedestrians are the most vulnerable road users, even when inside of buildings. Our legal team can help you recover all damages owed to you, including medical expenses and lost wages.
Contact us online to schedule your free case evaluation.