SACRAMENTO – On January 14, 2014, an elderly woman lost control of her vehicle and crashed into the New Bridges Presbyterian Church in Hayward. The vehicle accelerated, nearly hitting several people in the church courtyard before smashing through a wooden fence, crashing through the church's double doors then driving through the church vestibule.
Vehicle-into-building crashes, like the one New Bridges Presbyterian Church experienced, have been reported to occur as many as 60 times per day in the United States. According the Storefront Safety Council, between 2013 and 2014, there were over 380 reported incidents in California. Motivated by data and reports of these incidents, Assemblymember Bill Quirk (D-Hayward) sought to propose new legislation to address this serious problem.
“I introduced AB 764 to increase awareness of storefront crashes and encourage the use of vehicle protective devices, including vehicle barriers in building and parking lot design. Most of these crashes and injuries can be prevented with some simple and inexpensive steps.” Many businesses that have experienced these accidents have installed barriers on their own.
AB 764 passed out of the Senate Transportation and Housing Committee with a 10-0 vote, and moves to the Senate Insurance Committee. After the vote Assemblymember Quirk said “the unanimous support from committee members shows the importance of this legislation and that my colleagues understand this bill is a simple solution to a serious problem.”
Elected in 2012, Bill Quirk brings his PhD in astrophysics and career as an educator and scientist to the State Assembly. He is the Chair of the Assembly Committee on Public Safety and a member of the Committees on Agriculture, Appropriations, Revenue & Taxation, and Utilities & Commerce.