Back in May, Fox 61 reported that motorcycle accidents are becoming a trend in Connecticut. In one six-day period, there were five motorcycle accidents statewide, and three of them resulted in fatalities. Ironically, May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month (as designated by the National Safety Council). This is supposed to be the month when motorists pay closer attention to the increased number of motorcyclists that hit the road when the summer months begin.
Apparently, many drivers in Connecticut have not received the memo about motorcycle safety awareness. The string of accidents during that fateful six-day span in May is not an aberration, but rather an indication of a disturbing trend. There are approximately 50 motorcycle deaths each year in Connecticut, which may not sound like a lot, but given the size of our state, it is far more than should be tolerated.
Statistically, Connecticut does not measure up well to other states when it comes to motorcycle-related fatalities. Motorcycle deaths make up about 14% of all traffic-related fatalities nationwide, but in Connecticut, that figure is closer to 20%. It certainly doesn’t help that our state has no motorcycle helmet law, but the main factor that seems to be driving this upward trend in motorcycle accidents is distracted driving.
The Distracted Driving Epidemic
Motorists have always had to deal with distractions. The car radio, passengers talking, billboards that grab their attention, eating or drinking while driving, etc. When car phones started coming out in the 1970s and 80s, this added another hazard. To address the problem of talking on the phone while driving, many states put heavy restrictions on the practice.
In Connecticut, drivers are banned from texting while driving, and they are only allowed to talk on cell phones when they are in the “hands-free” mode. In addition, drivers under age 18 (aka “novice drivers”) cannot talk or text or use any other electronic device at all while behind the wheel.
Most people would agree that texting while driving is dangerous and should be against the law. Common sense would tell you that it is not wise to give your visual attention to an electronic device while you are supposed to be watching the road. Unfortunately, this is not stopping motorists from texting, checking emails, and doing other things on their electronic devices when they are driving.
Distracted driving is a growing problem in Connecticut and nationwide that shows no signs of slowing down. One out of four motor vehicle accidents are the result of texting while driving, and it contributes to 1.6 million accidents each year. And at any given moment throughout the country, over 800,000 motorists are sending texts while they are driving. It seems as if texting is one of those things that is “dangerous for someone else to do”, but “It’s okay for me because I can handle it.”
Texting while Driving and Motorcycle Accidents
Motorcyclists have always faced unique dangers on the road. They ride with less protection, so when another vehicle crashes into them, bikers are far more susceptible to serious injuries and fatalities. Because they are small, other drivers have a harder time seeing motorcycles, and even when they do see them, they often fail to give them the respect they deserve. Texting and other forms of distracted driving are making things far worse for bikers. In fact, it has been reported that distracted driving accounts for as much as 40% of all motorcycle accidents in some states.
Staying Safe on the Road
With so many distracted drivers out there, motorcyclists need to practice defensive driving to stay safe when they are out riding. Here are some ways for bikers to attract the attention of distracted drivers and avoid an accident:
- Wear bright or reflective clothing;
- Keep your lights on even when riding during the day;
- When riding on undivided roads and highways, be mindful of traffic coming in both directions;
- Watch for signs of distracted driving, such as drivers who weave in and out of their lanes.
When You Do Everything Right and Still End Up in an Accident
There are numerous hazards out there for motorcyclists, and sometimes, accidents are unavoidable. If you were involved in an accident and it was the result of distracted driving by another motorist or some other form of negligence on the road, you may be entitled to compensation. Before accepting any type of settlement from an insurance company, speak to an experienced Connecticut personal injury lawyer so you fully understand your legal options.
At The APEX Law Firm, LLC, we have represented countless clients who have been injured in a motorcycle accident. We have in-depth knowledge of the complexities of these types of cases, and we fight hard for the rights and interests of our clients to ensure that they receive every dollar of compensation they deserve, and that responsible parties are held fully accountable.
For a personalized consultation with one of our attorneys, call us at (860) 900-0900, visit our Hartford County office in person, or send us a message for a free case assessment.