In our published research, we have shown that America's 150,000 gas and convenience stores are struck as many as TWENTY TIMES PER DAY. Most of these are low speed crashes, mostly involving pedal errors by drivers in the parking lot. Mostly, but not always.
In the first crash, the driver drove straight through the front doors of a convenience store in Madisonville, Tennessee. The driver claimed his brakes failed and video shows that he accelerated through the glass doors. The entire car ended up inside the store, crashed up against counters and merchandise. The impact severely injured a customer, who had to be airlifted to a hospital.
The second crash occurred in Fairfield, Connecticut, when a driver (since charged with DUI) came off of I-95 Freeway at up to 60 MPH, proceeded without slowing down, drove straight through the gas pump striking several cars, and headed straight towards the crowded store. There was no guardrail to impede the vehicle.
Two crashes. Two convenience stores. Same day. Different outcomes.
The following photographs and videos tell the stories. I think you will be surprised at the outcome of these crashes, and the very clear lessons to be learned about storefront safety.
The Fairfield incident. HIGH SPEED crash caught on video:
The Madisonville incident. The LOW SPEED crash in Madisonville was caught on video and reported courtesy of WATE: Car crashes into Madisonville business.
Clearly, the owners of the Fairfield store took steps that the owners of the store in Madisonville did not. In Madisonville, nothing prevented the car from coming all the way into the store; in Fairfield, something caused that car to fly into the air and come down outside of the store.
Let's look at some photos of the front of these stores to compare.
Front of store in Madisonville:
Front of store in Fairfield:
Now, let's look at the outcome of NOT having bollards installed in Madisonville (even in a low speed crash):
As an added bonus, this will also protect the store against crash and grab ram raids. Convenience stores are frequent targets for thieves intent on stealing ATM machines, liquor, cigarettes, lottery tickets, and cash.
The Storefront Safety Council, ASTM, and other groups are working hard to encourage store owners to protect their customers and their employees from this hazard. 50 to 60 times per day, every day, a car crashes into a store, restaurant, or business in America. 20 times per day, every day, a car crashes into a convenience store. You can see what happens when a store owner invests in the protection of his employees and his business. You can see what happens when store owners do not. At which store would you want to shop? At which store would you want to work?
There is GREAT video coverage on the Fairfield crash from the New Haven Register HERE
There is more coverage on the Madisonville crash from WATE and the woman who was injured HERE
Every year, thousands are injured in storefront crashes Every year, hundreds are killed. And it doesn't have to be that way.