Just how frequently are cars ramming into buildings across Seattle? Well, you’d be surprised to learn that in 2022, a truck or vehicle crashed into a building in Seattle every three and a half days on average. That is over 100 times in a year.
According to records by the Seattle Fire Department, 2022 saw the highest number of cars crashing into buildings since 2012. Bear in mind that building crashes represent just a small number of all traffic collisions in Seattle. There are thousands of vehicle collisions in the city each year. However, the sheer scale of destruction and danger to human lives caused by cars ramming into buildings are now becoming a cause for concern. The danger of being hit by a car is no longer confined to the streets alone.
Most of the incidents end up causing serious injury. Some like the one that happened in Lake City in 2017 even caused fatalities. The damage caused by cars and trucks to buildings and even residential homes runs into tens of thousands of dollars every year while disrupting businesses for months. A few of the dramatic crashes get a lot of news coverage but their frequency is hardly tracked.
A review of the Seattle Fire Department’s records reveals that cars and trucks have rammed into buildings over 700 times since 2012. Most of the crashes did not even get any news coverage or a response from the fire department. There are many times when a driver reverses into a building but the incident never shows in any report or record.
Last year had 105 recorded collisions into buildings, which was the highest in 10 years. The increasing number of collisions into buildings comes at a time when the entire state is experiencing a record number of traffic-related deaths. Speeding and injuries are on the rise while enforcement remains lower than it used to be in 2019.
Some incidents of vehicles crashing into buildings cause more serious damage than others. For example, in one incident in North Seattle, a vehicle rammed into the Jays Cleaners business and in another one, a car smashed into an auto repair shop on Roosevelt Way. The damage caused by both crashes was serious enough to catch the attention and response of the Fire Department.
Almost a third of buildings that have crashed in Seattle involved a car colliding with the building. Last March, the driver lost control after his car was T-boned along Eastlake Avenue and rammed into the entrance of a popular 90’s music club known as Lo-Fi Seattle. The damage caused by the crash left the popular club closed temporarily as the owners searched for funds via the GoFundMe online platform.
In another incident two months later, a vehicle drove through the Coastal Kitchen restaurant in Capitol Hill during business with customers inside. Luckily, nobody was injured but the car completely damaged the restaurant’s façade and rammed into a support pillar. The damage was enough to elicit a good amount of work and funds to restore the building’s structural integrity. The restaurant was even closed for 6 months.
Cars are not only ramming into commercial buildings but into residential homes too. A third of the 2022 incidents involved single-home or apartment residences. As the rate of vehicle collisions into buildings continues to rise, it is high time they were monitored more seriously by the relevant authorities.