TTI Plays Key Role in Creating New Safety Standard to Prevent Storefront Crashes

Posted on December 12, 2014

With 500 people reportedly killed each year by vehicles crashing into retail stores, sidewalk cafes, hair salons and other businesses, low speed barrier crashes have been called “one of the largest unaddressed safety issues in the country.” (Video here.)

Photo courtesy of Rob Reiter.

Photo courtesy of Rob Reiter.

Until now, there has been no objective way to evaluate the effectiveness of the vertical pipes, decorative planters and other devices that many businesses hope will be strong enough to minimize damages and injuries should a vehicle hit one of their locations.

That changed last month, when ASTM International approved a test standard designed to help save hundreds of lives and millions of dollars in property damage each year. Developed in part by researchers at the Texas A&M Transportation Institute (TTI), the standard – known as Test Method for Low Speed Barriers for Errant Vehicles (F3016-2014) – sets parameters for bollards, barriers and other devices most often seen protecting storefronts and high-traffic pedestrian areas.

“When contractors and businesses put these barriers in place, it’s for the purpose of protecting people and property,” noted TTI Assistant Agency Director Dean Alberson, manager of the Institute’s Crashworthy Structures Program. “However, there has been no way for anyone to know how much protection they actually provide. That’s why it was necessary to have a standard in place. And hopefully we will start seeing widespread use of these safety devices that we know will work properly.”

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