A new California law provides an incentive for commercial property owners to install barriers to protect outdoor diners.
The law enables insurance companies to offer discounts on commercial property policyholders’ premiums if they install safety barriers. The legislation came after outdoor dining and similar streetside venues became commonplace during the Covid pandemic.
As outdoor dining increased, so did deaths and injuries from vehicles crashing into diners and pedestrians, according to 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,” says storefront safety expert Rob Reiter, who co-founded the Storefront Safety Council. “It just takes one crash to end a life—and put a restaurant or small retailer out of business.”
According to the Council:
- 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.
These figures are based on 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.