Crash Course

— By Garrett Fishaw —

Storefront crashes: the incoming cost you can’t afford.


60 times a day. More than 4,000 injured annually. As many as 500 killed each year. According to the Storefront Safety Council, those are the statistics for storefront crashes in the United States.

Garrett Fishaw, Ideal Shield

There’s no argument anymore. Storefront crashes are an epidemic in this country and something that every business owner needs to be aware of when designing their storefront layouts.

The Storefront Safety Council estimated that the cost of a car-into-building crash that does not include an injury is $9,100 per crash. Adding in potential injuries and the cost could be insurmountable for many business owners.

According to WCIA in Champaign, Illinois, car-into-building crashes cost about $200 million each year to pay for just property damage and medical bills. With this large of a cost, someone must pay, which can end up being a group effort as WCIA also reported that, according to insurance agents, the state minimum for property damage coverage through auto insurance is $25,000. So, with storefront crashes typically exceeding that amount, insurance rates could increase statewide to cover the costs.

Storefront crashes are not only at retail storefronts; the term includes all vehicle-into-building accidents. According to the Storefront Safety Council, retail stores are at the top of the list at 23%, followed by restaurants (19%), commercial buildings (11%), offices (8%), convenience stores (6%), government buildings (3%) and all other locations making up the rest of the crashes. That means just about any building is vulnerable to these accidents.

As for who is the cause of these accidents, the Storefront Safety Council has collected data from over a decade to see that it’s a problem for all ages. The main culprit is the 60+ year-old crowd, as they are responsible for 39% of storefront accidents, followed by 30- to 60-year-olds (32%), while drivers under 30 years old are responsible for 29% of accidents.

The leading causes for storefront crashes? That would be operator and pedal error, which accounts for 41% of accidents. Other causes include drivers under the influence (15%), traffic accidents (12%), medical issues (9%), crash & grab/ramraids (6%), and all other causes accounting for the rest.

Protecting against storefront crashes is not something business owners can think twice about. The statistics show that it could very likely happen to any business or building — and the costs can be devastating. That is, if the vehicle fully penetrates the structure or not, as any amount of damage can potentially shut down the business or portion of the business where the accident takes place.

So, how can a business protect itself from a storefront accident?

Simple steel and concrete bollards can be good deterrents, but the strength of the average bollard is no match for a 4,000-pound vehicle. Business owners may need to step up the protection levels and install crash-rated safety bollards at any potential vehicle access points to protect a storefront properly. That includes appropriately spacing the bollards along the storefront parking spaces, around corners and near doors.

As for the bollards themselves, there are plenty of different options on the market. One of the main things business owners will want to research will be the strength level and impact rating for the safety bollards, also known as the ASTM Crash Ratings.

There are four consistent crash bollard options on the market that could be perfect fits for a storefront, depending on crash rating needs. The CU40 Traffic Impact Bollard is designed to protect businesses and storefronts from 5,000-lb vehicles traveling 30mph. More substantial bollard options include:

  • K4 or M30 Rated Bollards, which are designed to stop a 15,000-lb vehicle at 30mph
  • K8 or M40 Rated Bollards, which are designed to stop a 15,000-lb vehicle at 40mph
  • K12 or M50 Rated Bollards, which are designed to stop a 15,000-lb vehicle at 50mph

Storefront crashes are an epidemic that costs thousands of dollars and causes damage, shutdowns, injuries and even fatalities. It’s time to start adding protective safety bollards to every vulnerable storefront to protect businesses and their customers from these horrible accidents and attacks.




— Garrett Fishaw is marketing manager & communications director of Ideal Shield, based in Detroit. Ideal Shield is a minority-owned & family operated manufacturing company celebrating 25 years in business throughout 2022. For more information, visit [email protected].




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