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Why 7-Eleven paid $91M to driver who crashed into store

A man hit the gas pedal instead of the brakes, but 7/11 is the one paying for their storefront parking situation.

A nighttime view of a 7/11, where only the storefront is illuminated. A person rides their bike in front of the store on their way past.

Car crashes are inevitable — whether they’re accidents caused by careless drivers, or the random crazy person who does it for fun (new fear unlocked?) When most think of car accidents, they picture the highway or an overpass flooded with vehicles. But maybe it’s time to add 7/11 to that list. 

In Bensenville, Illinois, a driver who hit the gas pedal instead of the brakes pinned a man into the store, severing both of his legs. The 7/11 location is now paying him a $91 million dollar settlement. You may wonder why exactly 7/11 is paying for the freak accident instead of the driver. 

Well, according to the law firm that represented the injured man, over a 15 year period, 6,253 vehicles crashed into 7-Eleven stores in the US. What? That’s exactly one crash per day. According to the Storefront Safety Council, (yes, that’s a thing) over one hundred vehicles crash into storefronts across the nation every single day. Every year, around 16,000 people sustain injuries and over 2,600 are killed. 

Shockingly enough, 9% of those were “ram raids,” where a person crashes into a building on purpose in an effort to rob them. As you can imagine, some locations have been hit numerous times, like the Bensenville 7/11. One location in Oregon has been hit a whopping thirteen times! 

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Some businesses have installed giant posts, called bollards, to help stop cars from crashing into them. A spokesperson for 7/11 confirmed the store follows local building codes, but the judge ultimately decided they should’ve also installed bollards. Storefront Safety made a point that the bollards have to be sturdy. Otherwise they won’t do much to stop a crash. The average cost is around $700 to $900 for one bollard. 

If you have a storefront, listen up! If parking is nearby, check the local codes to ensure they’re being followed. Even if you’re just renting a space from a commercial property manager! No matter who’s technically in charge of following the local codes, ensuring codes are covered can contribute to the safety of drivers and people in/around your business.

Macie LaCau is a passionate writer, herbal educator, and dog enthusiast. She spends most of her time overthinking and watering her tiny tomatoes.

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