When Buildings Collapse. . .

Nov 2011

        Buffalo hones the title “City of Good Neighbors.” Walking downtown, smiles greet you on strangers faces and “How do you do?’ follows. The intimacy of personal relationships in this city is like a Reese’s cup; better with every bite. Some Buffaloians though, take advantage of this hospitable instinct, maybe by parking their car in your driveway. . . or dining room for that matter. I bleed cordiality, but if you wish to come in, use your fist to knock, not your bumper.

                Since the end of August, an astounding 25 drivers have crashed into local businesses, many of which have resulted in death and serious injury.  The most recent came this week when an SUV struck the front rail of Laughlin’s on Franklin Street, causing noteworthy damage to the neighborhood pub. Another highly publicized crash occurred in mid-September, when an elderly woman barreled into the side of Chee Burger Chee Burger, killing two and injuring several more. The list goes on from there.  With this latest accident, a pandemic can only describe what’s happening. Can we really pin 25 separate car-fights-building incidents on absent mindedness alone? One leading psychologist thinks not.

                Though many of these cases involve elderly drivers, personality plays a role too according to Psychologist Dr. Amy Beth Taublib. She told WKBW that a common delusion among people, namely senior citizens, suggests that their perceived driving skills supersede their actual driving skills, which she believes has contributed greatly to the surge in building-front crashes. “I certainly don’t think it’s coincidental,” Taublib told channel 7, “I think people who do these things have a certain psychological mindset.” Another theory discussed by Taublib recalls the “copy-cat” phenomenon, which implies that an accident like this occurring once increases the likelihood of it occurring again because violent incidents have a way of embedding themselves in the collective unconscious.

                The Amherst Town Board has taken preventive action toward limiting the frequency of these accidents. In September, the board passed an ordinance requiring local businesses to implant concrete pillars in front of their buildings if the building lies within a certain number of feet from the roadside. Since the passing of this ordinance, there have been at least 10 more accidents of this nature.  Glumly enough, if any truth exists in the “copycat” phenomenon, expect more of these crashes to come.

Comments are closed.