Researchers at the Texas A&M Transportation Institute are looking at new ways to keep vehicles from crashing into buildings. According to figures from the Storefront Safety Council, Texas ranks fourth in the nation in the number of accidents where vehicles run into buildings.
One of the latest accidents in Houston happened earlier this month when a vehicle hit the front of a busy restaurant in the Heights.
TTI researcher Michael Brackin says all over the country, about 60 drivers a day crash into a building and about 500 people a year are killed.
“From looking at the data, you can see that as the population ages, it becomes a lot more common for these types of accidents to happen.”
A car hit the front of Torchy’s Tacos on 20th Street in the Heights January 10. Photo by Ryan Malone.
But it’s not just older drivers. About 26% percent of drivers who hit a building are under the age of 30. Brackin says in many of those cases the driver simply isn’t paying attention.
“Texting, as you know, is a real bad problem right now, distracted driving. It’s real easy to look down at your phone and before you know it you’re sitting in the building and weren’t able to stop.”
TTI has been working to develop low-speed barriers designed to protect both the driver and the people inside the building.