Motorcyclists face tremendous danger on the road. In the case of an accident, they’re far less protected than other drivers secured in their heavy metal vehicles. By traveling exposed to open air and often moving at fast speeds, motorcyclists tend to bob and weave through traffic to avoid other vehicles. But as distracted driving is continuing to grow as a dangerous problem on our roads, motorcyclists are placed at higher risk.
According to the Houston car accident lawyers at Ramsey Law Group, distracted driving is one of the primary causes of motorcycle accidents. Drivers that look away from the road to send a text or switch lanes without checking their blind spots are likely to hit a motorcyclist traveling at high speed. Some reports claim up to 40% of motorcycle accidents are caused by distracted drivers not paying attention to their surroundings on the road.
In general, fatal motorcycle crashes are far more common than other fatal vehicle crashes. In a 2017 report, data showed that motorcycle riders were 28 times more likely to die in a crash than a traditional vehicle occupant. While the number of motorcycle deaths has gone down overall in the past few years, it’s still far more dangerous than other types of vehicle transportation.
How Common is Distracted Driving?
Distracted driving has decreased in the past few years as drivers have become more aware of the dangers, however it’s still a leading cause of traffic accidents. Data from 2019 show that:
- Texting and driving causes more than 1,600,000 accidents every year.
- At any given time, up to 800,000 drivers are texting behind the wheel.
- Texting while driving makes a driver 23 times more likely to crash.
- 87% of parents with small children admit to being distracted while driving.
- 37% of respondents felt pressure to respond to work-related messages over email or text while being the wheel.
As more statistics come out and lawmakers are recognizing the significance of distracted driving, legislation is passing across the United States to try and limit drivers’ distracted behavior. These new laws have been proven to decrease the number of distracted driving accidents across the country for vehicle drivers, but appear to have an even more significant impact on motorcycle riders.
Impact of Distracted Driving Laws
While motor vehicle fatalities have steadily decreased, motorcycle fatality rates have not declined as quickly. Most states have implemented some kind of ban on texting and driving or handheld phone use. Text messaging behind the wheel is completely banned in 47 states and the District of Columbia.
A study about the impact of distracted driving laws was recently published in Social Science & Medical journal, suggesting that these laws have proven effective for keeping motorcycle riders safe. According to a co-author of the study, “when we focus specifically on motorcycles, we find that these laws are having a major impact on reducing deaths among motorcycle riders.”
Researchers are still working to identify some of the specific trends related to laws surrounding distracted driving, with more studies coming out on a regular basis. At present it’s exciting to know that existing legislation is working to make motorcyclists safer on the road.