Researchers at both the University of Miami and Florida Atlantic University (FAU) published a study in the academic journal Social Science & Medicine this week that captures the importance of distracted driving laws in curbing fatal motorcycle accidents.
Researchers focused their attention on motorcycle crashes because a disproportionate number of motorcyclists die in traffic crashes every year, given the number of motorcyclists on the road and the collective amount of miles they travel. In addition, while car design has improved over the past few years, something that has caused fatality rates to drop, the same can’t be said about motorcycles.
The researchers compiled data from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System from between 2005 and 2015 and state sources. They then compared those statistics with each state’s laws regarding handheld electronic devices, such as mobile phones.
They found that states that have what they refer to as moderate to strong laws in place prohibiting drivers from using cell phones and other personal electronics have as much as 11 percent fewer motorcycle deaths than states that don’t have strong laws.
The lead researcher at FAU notes that he and his colleagues aren’t sure if the laws restricting cellphone use while behind the wheel has had the same impact on curbing other types of fatal motor vehicle accidents because they’ve focused solely on motorcycle accidents. Just the same, he stated that he wouldn’t be surprised if strong anti-cellphone laws have the same effect on all types of traffic fatalities.
Data compiled by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety shows that 16 states currently ban all use of a handheld cellphone while driving. An additional 22 states only restrict minors from using these devices. Texting while driving is prohibited in 47 states.
Each day across the United States, some 1,000 motorists are injured and another nine are killed in distracted driving incidents. If you have been seriously hurt in a motorcycle accident or have lost a loved one due to another motorist’s negligence, an attorney can help you understand the process of obtaining compensation for your losses.