Distracted Driving: Putting Motorcyclists at Grave Risk
Distracted driving is one of the most common causes of vehicle accidents. In 2007, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration1 (NHTSA) found that, for rear-end accidents, driver distraction was the most common cause. Their study estimated that 87% of all rear-end crashes were distraction-related. Further, 47% of the drivers had no discernable crash avoidance responses, indicating that they were so distracted they did not know that a crash was imminent. Some of the most common secondary tasks drivers were engaged in were eating, checking mirrors, daydreaming, and adjusting controls.
Distractions while driving can also be deadly. The US Department of Transportation2 found that distracted driving killed 3,179 people and injured 431,000 more in 2015. The department found that the most common causes of distraction are:
- Talking on the phone
- Eating and drinking
- Talking to passengers
- Reading (including reading maps)
- Using a navigation system
- Watching a video
- Adjusting audio and temperature controls
Of all of these distractions, texting is by far the most dangerous, due to the visual, manual, and cognitive attention it takes away from the driver’s primary focus on the road.
Motorcyclists are Particularly at Risk
While distracted driving is dangerous regardless of what kind of vehicle is involved, it is especially dangerous for motorcyclists. When cars crash, there are several safety features available to the occupants of the vehicle, including seat belts, airbags, and the general safety of being enclosed inside a metal box, reducing the risk that occupants will be ejected. Motorcyclists have none of these protections, and thus are much more likely to be killed in an accident. In fact, NHTSA 3 that, per mile traveled in 2014, the number of deaths on motorcycles was 27 times the number of deaths in cars.
Why are motorcyclists so much more at risk from distracted driving than drivers of enclosed automobiles?
There are several reasons, including:
Right of way violations: The majority of motorcycle accidents are caused when a vehicle’s driver violates the cyclist’s right of way. This happens most often when the motorcycle is proceeding straight ahead and an automobile turns left into the path of the oncoming motorcycle.
Motorcycles are harder to see: Motorcycles are much smaller than cars and SUVs, so a driver who is distracted is even less likely to notice when one has entered their vicinity
:4 Alcohol and other drugs affect a driver’s reaction time. Combine this with the fact that motorcycles are harder to notice even while sober, and the situation can easily become deadly for motorcyclists.
General danger of motorcycling: As we mentioned above, motorcycles lack most of the standard safety features of passenger vehicles. Thus, even minor accidents are more likely to seriously injure or kill a cyclist than the passenger of a vehicle.
If you have been injured by a distracted driver and believe that you may have a claim, you should speak to an attorney as soon as possible. To schedule a free consultation with one of our Clearwater motorcycle accident lawyers, call the today at 727-451-6900 or online.
Dolman Law Group
800 North Belcher Road
Clearwater, FL 33765