The dangers of distracted driving have been well-known and highly publicized for years, yet statistics indicate that drivers disregard both safety issues and the law. Cell phone use and other risky activities are a particular concern for motorcycle riders, who are not protected by a metal barrier in a collision. According to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV), there are more than 9,000 motorcycle accidents statewide, leading to almost 600 fatalities. Approximately 2,200 of these incidents take place in South Florida alone.
Researchers have identified three key ways that distracted driving impacts a motorist’s ability to safely operate a vehicle, and each of them is amplified when it comes to sharing the road with motorcycle riders. A Miami motorcycle accident attorney can assist with your legal remedies if you were hurt, as you may qualify to recover compensation for your losses. A summary of the three factors, as they apply to motorcycling, is also helpful.
1. Visibility is Impaired: This first effect on a driver’s abilities is one that already plagues motorcyclists, who are traveling in a vehicle that has a narrow, low profile. Drivers fail to see riders frequently, and their carelessness is exacerbated when they are staring at a phone instead of watching the road. Motorists may stray into other lanes, fail to yield right of way and make erratic turns even after taking their gaze away from traffic for just a moment. Government officials report that looking down at a phone while traveling at 55 mph is like driving the length of a football field while blindfolded.
2. Manual Abilities Suffer: Texting, posting to social media, and surfing the internet require a phone user to interact with fingers. They violate a basic rule of safe vehicle operation, which is to always have both hands on the wheel. In the split second of a collision, a driver cannot get their hands back on the wheel fast enough to turn or maneuver to avoid a motorcycle accident.
3. Cognitive Response Decreases: A motorist’s mind can often drift while having a conversation on the phone, even when using hands-free to avoid issues with visual and manual impairment. Their thoughts are elsewhere, which delays response time.
What Distracted Driving Means for Your Rights
Negligence is the theory of liability that applies to motorcycle accidents, and cell phone use is a clear sign of it. A reasonable person who exercises proper caution while driving would never grab the phone to text, talk, or review an email. Plus, there are other forms of distracted driving that can be equally dangerous, like eating, adjusting the radio, and using a GPS.
Enforce Your Rights With Help From a Miami Motorcycle Accident Lawyer
You have rights under Florida law if you were hurt in a motorcycle crash, and our attorneys at Gerson & Schwartz, PA, are ready to support your legal needs. For more information on our services, please call (305) 371-6000 or visit our website to schedule a free consultation at our offices in Miami, Fort Lauderdale, or West Palm Beach, FL.