Safety Experts Say Poles Can Stop Cars From Crashing Into Convenience Stores, Inside Edition Investigates

Terry Sizemore tells Inside Edition's Lisa Guerrero that she was paying for gas inside a California 7-Eleven when an SUV suddenly smashed through and mowed her down.

An estimated 160 million people visit a convenience store every day.

And on average, safety experts say a vehicle crashes into a storefront 20 times a day, causing damage, injuries or even death.

Records show that a number of these storefront crashes have happened at 7-Eleven stores across the country.

Terry Sizemore tells Inside Edition's Lisa Guerrero that she was paying for gas inside a California 7-Eleven when an SUV suddenly smashed through and mowed her down.

Video of the crash shows just how quickly it all happened, and how lucky Sizemore is to still be alive.

She believes that the driver had meant to hit the brake but instead hit the gas.

"We think she floored it because she came in very fast with it," Sizemore tells Guerrero.

"When you go into 7-Eleven you expect to walk out with a product, not leave in an ambulance," Sizemore's attorney Chris Dolan tells Inside Edition.

Dolan's client entered into a settlement with 7-Eleven, and Doland says he learned some shocking information in the process. 

"We were blown away with the number of incidents that were happening at 7-Elevens," Dolan says. "So much so, that we thought this is screaming to the company: you need to do something to protect your customers. "

So why did these storefront crashes keep happening at 7-Elevens nationwide?

Storefront safety expert Rob Reiter says: "7-Eleven is kind of the poster child because they have two things. One is a lot of stores, and two they've done a very poor job of protecting them."

Reiter is the co-founder of the Storefront Safety Council, a safety advocacy group that works to prevent incidents like storefront crashes. He says it happens at other convenience stores besides 7-Eleven.

"There's about 155,000 convenience stores in the U.S. They get hit 20 times a day," Reiter says. "So, 20 times a day, a vehicle will run into a convenience store."

Adam Sivia was standing in front of a gas station in New Orleans when a driver plowed into him and a friend.

Surveillance footage shows the vehicle slamming and then trapping Silva against the building's exterior before speeding off. His friend limped away on one foot, but Adam says he lost so much blood he flatlined for close to 10 minutes before paramedics revived him that day.

"I just remember sitting on the ground back up against the wall then just kind of slowly slumping over," Sivia recalls. "And then I woke up a few days later in the hospital without my legs."

The kindergarten teacher has since made a remarkable recovery, learning to walk again on state-of-the-art prosthetics.

So, is there a solution to stop these crashes? Yes, according to safety experts. And Reiter says it is a relatively simple one.

Concrete posts called bollards would help reduce the vast number of injuries and fatalities from storefront crashes every year.

"They're incredibly effective. You put in some very simple bollards ... it's inexpensive," Reiter says. "You put two in each parking place and no one's going to be able to go over the curb ever again."

Sivia is now suing the gas station where the crash occurred for negligence, saying they should have put up bollards to protect customers after a different driver crashed into the store two years before his incident.

The gas station denies any wrongdoing.

In a statement to Inside Edition, 7-Eleven says safety is a top priority. The company also says that while there are no nationwide bollard regulations, they have begun implementing an ongoing storefront safety initiative to retrofit thousands of their stores with those perimeter safety bollards.

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