Study Finds Distracted Driving Laws Are Saving Motorcyclists’ Lives
States with moderate to strong distracted driving laws curbing drivers’ use of cell phones and other handheld devices have greatly reduced rates of motorcycle deaths. This is according to a study by faculty at Florida Atlantic University and the University of Miami. The study’s findings were recently published in the journal Social Science & Medicine. The study’s author says these distracted driving laws seem to be effective when it comes to preventing motorcycle accidents.
Link Between Laws and Motorcyclists
Motorcyclists account for a much higher rate of traffic accident fatalities relative to the share of motorcycles among all motor vehicle and vehicle miles driven in the United States. The study’s authors obtained annual data from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) on total and motorcycle-specific traffic fatalities for all 50 states during the time period between 2005 and 2015. That data was then merged with state-specific characteristics, texting/handheld device laws as well as other traffic policies to estimate the effectiveness of strong, moderate and weak bans compared to no bans.
Statistics have consistently shown that while auto safety has improved over the last few decades bringing down overall fatality rates with it, motorcycle accident deaths have not declined. Although research is mixed regarding the effectiveness of distracted driving for overall traffic fatalities, the study’s findings do indicate that motorcyclists are at a heightened risk of being a victim of distracted driving and thus could greatly benefit from these policies. This result is driven largely by multiple-vehicle crashes as opposed to single-vehicle crashes, according to research.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety states that 16 states and the District of Columbia ban talking on a hand-held cell phone while driving, and 38 states and D.C. restrict the use of all cell phones by inexperienced drivers. Texting while driving is banned in 47 states and D.C. Each day, about nine people are killed and more than 1,000 are injured in traffic accidents involving distracted drivers. Study authors say they hope these findings will help facilitate more informed discussions between law enforcement officers, lawmakers and the public about distracted driving and traffic safety.
Motorcyclists Are More Vulnerable
This study shows yet again that motorcyclists are more vulnerable to negligent drivers compared to those driving in larger vehicles such as cars, trucks or SUVs. Motorcyclists have less protection and therefore, are more likely to suffer major injuries when struck. If you have been injured in a motorcycle accident caused by a negligent driver, contact an experienced California motorcycle accident lawyer who will remain on your side, fight for your rights and help you secure maximum compensation for your losses.