Being a motorcyclist is inherently risky, especially in today’s world where distractions are more prevalent than ever before, and the rate of fatal accidents seems to be remaining steady, if not increasing. For motorcyclists, there are dozens of threats on the road that increase the risk of collision, including speeding drivers, bad weather and poor visibility, and poor road conditions, amongst others. But one of the greatest threats to motorcyclists today is that of distracted drivers. If you’ve been involved in an accident caused by a distracted driver, our Alabama motorcycle accident lawyers can help.
Distracted Driving Statistics
Distracted driving is a huge problem today, when more people than ever before have mobile devices that seem too tempting to resist. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), distracted driving claimed over 3,100 lives in a single year (2017) alone in our country, and plays a role in thousands of accidents. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that each day in the United States, there are more than 1,000 people injured and nine people killed in crashes that involve a distracted driver.
What Constitutes Distracted Driving?
The CDC explains that any activity that takes attention away from the act of driving is considered a distraction. A distraction may be visual (forcing a driver to take their eyes off of the road), manual (forcing a driver to take their hands off of the steering wheel), or cognitive (resulting in a driver taking their mind off of the act of driving).
While one of the most common, and most dangerous, types of distracted driving is the use of a cellphone while driving to call, text, email, take photos, use apps, etc., this is by no means the only type of distraction. Other types of distracting behaviors including eating or drinking, using a navigation app or device, talking to passengers, looking out the window, attending to pets in the vehicle, changing the radio station, self-grooming, and many more.
Distracted Driving-related Laws Save Motorcyclists’ Lives
One reason that motorcyclists may be at an increased risk of being involved in a distracted driving accident is that motorcyclists are already more difficult to see. When a driver isn’t exercising extra caution to check blind spots, to look twice before lane changing, and to yield to oncoming motorcyclists, the risk of an accident is enhanced.
According to an article published in the Insurance Journal, distracted drivers are a major threat to motorcyclists, and distracted driving-related laws can save motorcyclists’ lives. In fact, according to the article, states with laws that ban handheld devices and limit drivers’ use of cellphones while behind the wheel have motorcycle fatality rates that differ by as much as 11 percent when compared to states without such laws. The data presented makes a strong case for the importance of laws that ban cellphone use; such laws could save your life or the life of your loved ones.
Tips for Staying Safe and Reducing the Risk of a Crash
Both drivers and motorcyclists have a duty to operate their vehicles with care. Whether you are a motorcyclist or a driver, there are things that you can do to reduce your risk of an accident and your risk of causing an injury to yourself or to another person. These things include:
- Put away distractions! The most important thing that you can do is to focus on the act of operating your vehicle, whether that’s a car or a motorcycle. Put your cellphone away and out of sight/reach, don’t eat or drink, and don’t pay attention to anything other than the road and how you can safely navigate it.
- Double-check before lane changing. Again, it can be hard to see motorcyclists. If you’re a motorcyclist, get a driver’s attention and make sure they see you before performing any maneuver. Drivers, always do a double-take to make sure your path is clear before turning or lane changing.
- Provide more following distance. Providing more following distance is something that all drivers and motorcycle operators could be doing more of. This helps to reduce the risk of an accident.
Call an Alabama Motorcycle Accident Attorney Today
If you are a motorcyclist who has been injured in a crash that was caused by a distracted driver, you have rights, including the right to seek compensation for the full value of your losses. At the law offices of Haygood, Cleveland, Pierce, Thompson & Short, LLP, our Alabama motorcycle accident lawyers can help. Visit our law office today, send us a message, or call us at 334-821-3892 today.