As outdoor dining and similar streetside venues became commonplace throughout the U.S. during the pandemic, so too did deaths and injuries from vehicles crashing into those diners and pedestrians. We reached out to the office of California Assemblymember Dr. Bill Quirk (D-20) to advocate for legislation that created incentives for installation of safety barriers for outdoor dining and related activities on streets, sidewalks, and parking lots. Quirk's bill, AB1989, was approved by Governor Gavin Newsom on August 26, 2022.
"Assemblymember Quirk used data from the Storefront Safety Council as part of the documentation showing how risks at outdoor dining areas have increased as such venues have become more common," explained storefront safety expert Rob Reiter, who also co-founded the Storefront Safety Council. "These tragedies happen all around the U.S. when property owners fail to protect outdoor diners and others from errant drivers. It just takes one crash to end a life — and put a restaurant out of business."
Commercial Property Insurance Discounts Assemblymember Quirk's bill expands the ability of insurance companies writing liability policies in California to provide or offer a discount on insurance premiums when the property owner or business owner installs approved vehicle barriers to protect diners and others in an adjacent outdoor area covered under a commercial property insurance policy.
"Right now, outdoor diners, waitstaff, shoppers and others throughout the U.S. are sitting ducks when there is no proper barrier between them and vehicles," said Reiter. "This new law is meant to give property owners in California a financial incentive, in the form of reduced commercial property insurance costs, for installing qualified safety barriers or bollards to protect people."
Updated National Numbers Validated by Lloyd's of London
According to Storefront Safety Council data, which was reviewed and validated by Lloyd's of London in April 2022:
Storefront crashes occur more than 100 times per day in the U.S.
Nearly half (46%) of all storefront crashes result in injury, and 8% result in a fatality.
Each year in the U.S., as many as 16,000 people are injured and as many as 2,600 are killed in vehicle-into-building crashes.
About the Data
Lloyd's reviewed more than 10 years of data collection by the Council. Its national database of compiled storefront crashes numbers over 24,000 incidents, with additional confirming data on more than 15,000 other vehicle-into-building and related incidents. The Storefront Safety Council's crash statistics are among the most complete ever assembled for accidents on private property.
Because federal and state agencies do not regularly receive such data as part of any national reporting system, the Council's data collection of accidents involving commercial properties (such as parking lots, shopping centers, strip malls, and many roadside locations) is unique and very useful to government officials, researchers, underwriters, risk managers, and safety professionals.
About the Storefront Safety Council
The Storefront Safety Council is comprised of volunteers from a variety of backgrounds who are passionate about ending vehicle-into-building crashes. Founding members include experts in perimeter security, parking, personal injury law, risk management, architecture and related professions and industries. For more details, visit www.storefrontsafety.org