How Distracted Driving Contributes to Motorcycle Accidents
Motorcycle accident fatalities have been on the rise in recent years. In the 1990s, the number of individuals killed in motorcycle crashes was under 3,000 in any given year. This was bad enough, but then in the first decade of the new millennium, the number of fatalities began to exceed 4,000 annually until 2007, when it broke 5,000 for the first time. Since then, motorcycle fatalities have consistently been in the 4,000 to 5,000 (or higher) range each year.
Many experts believe that the vast increase in motorcycle accident fatalities is closely related to the distracted driving epidemic that has taken hold during the past decade or two. 2007, the year that motorcycle crash fatalities broke 5,000 for the first time, was also the year Apple released the iPhone.
By this time, texting was already becoming popular in the U.S., but the widespread use of smartphones in the years that followed gave rise to dangerous and destructive driving behaviors such as texting while driving, sending and responding to emails, watching YouTube videos, posting social media status updates, and many others. Today, distracted driving claims the lives of thousands, and causes serious injury to tens of thousands more each year.
In past years, cell phones were used mainly to talk on the phone. This is certainly a distraction, especially if you use one hand to hold the phone up to your ear, but it is not nearly as bad as texting or other types of electronic activity while behind the wheel.
Texting while driving is an especially dangerous form of distracted driving, because it distracts motorists in three ways; visually, manually, and cognitively. Most other forms of distraction may require one or two of these mechanisms, but texting requires all three. This means that when a motorist is texting, their total focus is taken away from the road, making it much easier to miss important things, such as a motorcycle entering their blind spot.
Distracted Driving and Motorcycle Accidents
While distracted driving is a major hazard to everyone on the road, it is especially bad for motorcyclists. Motor vehicle drivers have a steel cage and a seat belt to help protect them and help mitigate the effects of an accident. Motorcyclists have no such protection, and when they collide with another vehicle, there is not much separating them from danger. This is why motorcyclists are approximately 28 times more likely to be killed in a collision than occupants of motor vehicles (per vehicle mile traveled).
Motorcyclists are essentially at the mercy of distracted drivers who fail to see them riding nearby as they struggle to respond to the latest text. In fact, it is estimated that nearly 40% of all motorcycle accidents involve a distracted driver. Texting while driving bans have helped a little, and most states now have this type of ban in place, including Kentucky. Still, far too many motorists continue to give in to the temptation to “stay connected” when they are behind the wheel.
Some experts believe we need stricter penalties that will help deter drivers from engaging in this type of behavior. It is also important for parents to take steps to prevent their teens from driving while distracted. This starts by setting a good example and not doing it themselves. In addition, they should thoroughly educate their kids about the dangers of distracted driving, and if necessary, put measures in place (such as various apps on their phones or just taking their phones away completely) to prevent this from happening.
For motorcyclists, defensive driving is of paramount importance. Stay continually alert and be on the lookout for distracted drivers. Look for various signs of distracted driving, such as a car weaving over the center line or between lanes, cars that remain stopped at a stoplight even after the light turns green, and similar behaviors. Be continually aware of your surroundings and proceed with caution when you see a driver that appears to be distracted or inattentive.
Injured in a Distracted Driving Accident in Kentucky? Call John H. Ruby & Associates for Experienced Legal Help
Even if you employ the best safety practices, accidents can still happen. Drivers that are distracted, drowsy, chemically impaired, or reckless or negligent in other ways can cause collisions that result in serious and even catastrophic injuries. If you are in motorcyclist or motorist and this has happened to you, you deserve to be compensated.
At the law offices of John H. Ruby & Associates, we understand the major physical, emotional, and financial pain accident injury victims and their families have to endure, and we fight hard to secure the full and fair compensation our clients need and deserve. Our experienced attorneys work closely with our clients, and we handle all of the complex legal tasks, so you can focus on your recovery.
Call our office today at 502-895-2626 for a free consultation and case assessment. You may also message us through our online contact form or stop by our Louisville office in person at your convenience.