Last week, a last-lap pileup crash at the Daytona 500 resulted in serious injuries for 28 fans. Most racing fans know that crashes affect drivers on a regular basis - but spectator injuries are also a frequent occurrence. Nearly 50 spectators have died at racing events since 1990 and this is just the latest situation to attract renewed safety attention.
The crash happened right at the end of the Daytona 500. One of the drivers lost control and the resulting pileup threw a car through the 22-foot safety barrier and towards the grandstand. At the Daytona speedway, the grandstand is located just 10 feet away from the track. Debris and shrapnel from the crash flew into the crowd of spectators - including one entire wheel. The wheel apparently flew over the entire fence and injured fans in the upper level of the grandstand.
Many observers have focused on the safety problem involving debris flying over the fence - but the bigger problem may be that the fence failed to hold up against the crash. Photos from the scene show that the wreck tore the fence apart in several places. For these victims, the fence design may become an important issue in future personal injury lawsuits.
Check back later for more on the questions that might play a role in future litigation regarding this crash.
Source: Reuters, "Lawyers weigh possible legal fallout of Daytona crash," Casey Sullivan, Feb. 25, 2013