There have been a number of examples this month of vehicle-into-building crashes perpetrated with intent to cause damage or harm. A hotel in Oklahoma. A Scientology building in Texas. Convenience stores and public offices are also common targets. Places like court houses would be more frequent targets, but those are most often protected against such attacks.
The Comfort Inn & Suites looked clean and peaceful before a guest, angry about charges on his bill, decided to register his protest in a very graphic way. Did he realize that he was risking the lives of two employees at the front desk when he pulled his stunt? Would he have cared if he had realized it? Take a look at the video from NBC News and and see for yourself HERE.
Usually when we see these kinds of crashes, the driver had no intention whatsoever to crash into a building. Most often, they are pedal error or driver error accidents that happen very suddenly and with no warning -- and such accidents happen at least 60 times per day in this country. Every day.
But there are many more deliberate vehicle crashes into commercial stores -- we call them "Crash and Grabs" or "Ram Raids." Most often, these kinds of crashes utilize the mass of a vehicle to break through windows, doors and walls of stores and warehouses to commit theft -- thieves steal ATM machines, jewelry, guns, high value clothing, and so on.
All of these crashes -- be they accidents, theft, or deliberate attacks -- are risks every day where Americans work, play, and shop. In Alva Oklahoma, two employees at the front desk were put at risk this time because of an angry guest -- but it could also have been a driver on medications hitting the gas instead of the brake or a forgetful delivery truck driver who forgot to set the parking brake. And almost all of these kinds of crashes can be prevented with some good design, some common sense, and some simple and attractive barriers.