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Distracted Driving and Motorcycle Accidents

motorcycle accident

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHSTA) describes distracted driving as any activity a driver engages in that takes his or her attention away from the task of driving. The statistics show that distracted driving is a widespread problem. According to the NHSTA, driving while distracted causes an average of 337,000 injuries per year and 3,330 deaths. While NHTSA puts fatal crashes caused by distraction at 10 percent and injuries at 17 percent of all accidents, the National Safety Council disputes those figures. It claims that cell phone use and texting alone make up 28 percent of all distracted driving accidents.

Distracted Driving is Even More of a Problem with Motorcycle Accidents

Drivers of passenger vehicles already have difficulty seeing motorcyclists and sharing the road with them. When someone driving a car or truck becomes distracted, they can sometimes self-correct when they see another car in their field of vision. It’s more difficult for them to stop or return to the task of driving when encountering a motorcyclist or a pedestrian. In addition to cell phone use and texting, other common forms of distracted driving include:

  • Talking to passengers in the car
  • Applying make-up or shaving
  • Adjusting a global positioning system (GPS)
  • Changing the radio station
  • Eating or drinking
  • Daydreaming
  • Looking at something besides the road in front of them such as a billboard, people on the sidewalk, or a construction crew doing their work

Besides the increase in accidents among motorcycle drivers and their passengers, the injuries they sustain tend to be more serious as well. It’s easy to understand why when you consider that people on motorcycles don’t have the protection of thousands of pounds of steel surrounding them. Head injury is the most common type of injury suffered in an accident. This includes both concussions and traumatic brain injury. A helmet can help to lessen the force of the impact to the head and neck. Other common injuries in motorcycle crashes caused by distracted driving include:

  • Road rash: This occurs when a driver or passenger receives scrapes, cuts, and burns when any part of the body drags on the road. Road rash is most common in the arms because people instinctively put their arms in front of them to help break a fall.
  • Damage to muscles: This type of injury isn’t always obvious right away. You might feel fine immediately after the accident only to wake up to severe pain days or weeks later.
  • Leg and arm injuries: Injuries to the arms, hands, legs, knees, and feet are common due to an impact with another vehicle throwing the driver and rider to the street.

Categories of Distracted Driving

A cognitive distraction while driving means that the person’s mind has wandered and he or she has lost focus on immediate surroundings. It’s easy enough for drivers to start thinking about what to make for dinner or stresses at work rather than the road ahead.

A visual distraction is when the driver looks at something other than what’s in front, behind, and to the sides of his or her vehicle. The billboard and joggers mentioned above are common examples.

A driver affected by a manual distraction may reach to change the radio station or take a soda out of a cup holder. Anything that takes his or her hands off the wheel qualifies as a manual distraction.

Not surprisingly, texting while driving involves all three types of distractions. This explains why it’s so common and deadly.

Are You a Motorcyclist Injured by a Distracted Driver?

When you’re the victim of a careless driver, you need a personal injury attorney who looks out for your best interests. John H. Ruby & Associates offers free and confidential case reviews to help people decide if they should pursue a personal injury lawsuit. We serve Louisville, Kentucky and all surrounding communities. Please contact us locally at 502-895-2626 or toll-free at 888-367-1969 to request your appointment.