A Bigger Problem Than You’d Think
The Storefront Safety Council investigates instances in which cars crash through buildings. They provide research, statistics, and recommendations to help end the problem. According to the SSC, cars crash through buildings over 60 times a day. The accidents annually result in 4,000 injuries and 500 deaths.
The SSC indicates that nationally, the two age groups with the highest number of drivers crashing through buildings are 20-29, with 18%, and the elderly, with 14%. The group has found a strong correlation between the number of registered drivers in a state over 65 and the number of storefront crashes.
Their website also said that “Florida far and away leads the United States in the number of crashes and rate of crashes versus percentage of licensed drivers. Even though California has 400,000 more licensed drivers than Florida, Florida’s drivers crash into commercial buildings, businesses, and non-residential structures at a rate that is 70% higher than drivers in California. The current estimate is that Florida accounts for as many as 17% of all such accidents naturally, and does so with just 10% of all licensed drivers.”
Preventing Future Accidents
Recently, state Senator Jose Javier Rodriguez proposed legislation that would fund the installation of bollards, which are barriers that protect buildings from vehicles. Rodriguez’s legislation sought to create the Bollards Grant Program, which would issue funds to cities based on the number of storefront crashes they have seen, and the number of elderly drivers in the area.
When filing the legislation, Rodriguez said, “I know how dangerous some of these parking lots can be. I think that these kind of accidents can be easily prevented. Again, we know seniors and others are particularly vulnerable.” His legislation would not restrict how governments could spend the funds, and it would permit them to install bollards on private property.
Although he would like to see more done, Rodriguez considers this a step in the right direction. He said, “The appropriation in the bill is for a quarter of a million dollars, which is a drop in the bucket, but we have to start somewhere.”
Not all are on board, however. Barbara Sharief, Mayor of Broward County, said, “I think it’s something worth looking into. I think it will probably be very difficult to legislate on that level.”
Personal Injury Protection
As you know, Florida requires personal injury protection to operate a motor vehicle. How does personal injury protection factor into crashes like these?
If you are a pedestrian in or around a storefront and are injured in an accident, you could be entitled to compensation. Compensation could be granted to cover your medical expenses, lost wages, and any future expenses. Your personal injury protection policy will cover 80% of your medical bills, 60% of lost wages, and $5,000 in case of death.
Personal injury protection pays up to $10,000 unless you have purchased additional coverage. If you are a pedestrian involved in an accident, your car insurance will be the first to pay your benefits. Any damages that exceed $10,000 are the responsibility of the driver. If you own a car that is uninsured, personal injury protection will not pay your lost wages or medical bills