Drivers Are Crashing Into Outdoor Dining Spots For All kinds of Reasons -- But Reasons Don't Matter To Patrons That Are Injured or Killed
Vehicles crashing into outdoor dining or curbside dining spots have become more and more common as more and more permitted and un-permitted restaurants open up seating areas closer and closer to traffic. Encouraged by cities and business districts eager to get pedestrians and patrons back after lockdown, we have seen all sorts of set ups and all sorts of dangerous locations spring up in cities large and small.
Tragically, the increase in outdoor dining has brought with it an increase in vehicles colliding with seating areas and seated diners. We have seen a number of such accidents since June -- most of them preventable. Most recently, a driver trying to park his SUV crashed into outdoor dining tents set up outside of the Dynasty Chinese Seafood Restaurant in San Jose California. 7 were injured, and one killed.
As an expert at preventing deliberate vehicle attacks and accidental vehicle incursions, and as an someone who testifies as an expert witness when vehicles crash into storefronts, restaurants, and outdoor dining areas, I can see that the restaurant owners failed to make safety a priority for patrons -- they were completely unprotected. But the shopping center owners should have exercised control, and mall management should have taken immediate steps to require that any such outdoor facilities should be made safe for diners. All of these -- the restaurant, the property owner, and mall management -- FAILED the customers in those tents. Safety cannot be delegated -- one or all three should have consulted with an expert or asked for a review by the city or by the police department. Seven injured, one killed -- foreseeable accident, preventable accident.