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Distracted Driving Laws Are Saving Lives

Distracted driving laws are saving lives, reducing the number of accidents and reducing the number of injuries sustained in crashes.This was the goal of enacting these laws. These laws ban the use of cell phones and other hand-held devices by drivers. A new study found that a particular group of drivers are seeing the greatest benefit of these laws. Distracted driving laws have significantly reduced the number of fatalities among motorcyclists.

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), distracted driving laws have been enacted in most states:

  • 16 States and the District of Columbia ban talking on a hand-held cell phone while driving.
  • 38 states and the District of Columbia restrict the use of all cell phones by inexperienced drivers.
  • 47 States and the District of Columbia ban text messaging for all drivers.

In Virginia

  • Use of hand-held cell phones is banned in highway work zones.
  • All cell phone use by drivers younger than 18 isbanned.
  • All drivers are banned from texting while driving.

Laws in other states can be found in this chart:

A study conducted by the faculty at Florida Atlantic University and the University of Miami sheds light on the effect of these distracted driving laws. “While it’s not clear that these laws have had an impact on reducing the overall number of traffic fatalities, when we focus specifically on motorcycles, we find that these laws are having a major impact in reducing deaths among motorcycle riders.”

The study found that in states with moderate to strong distracted driving laws “motorcycle fatality rates differ by as much as 11 percent compared to states with no bans.”  (https://www.insurancejournal.comnews/national/2018/12/06/511243.htm)Improvements in automobile safety have reduced se overall fatality rates during the period of 2005 – 2015, but this had not reduced the fatality rates among motorcyclists. The impact of distracted driving laws for all traffic fatalities are inconclusive. Motorcyclists, however, are at greater risk of injury or death due to distracted driving.

In Virginia, in 2017 there were 2,119 crashes involving motorcycles. These crashes resulted in 2,047 injuries and 109 fatalities. In 2018, there have been 1,712 crashes involving motorcycles. These crashes resulted in 1,638 injuries and 86 fatalities. Of motorcycle crashes that were reported as involving a distracted driver, in 2017, 260 crashes resulted in 234 injuries and 21 fatalities. In 2018, 203 crashes resulted in 185 injuries and 15 fatalities. These statistics are relatively consistent with the finding of the study.

We know that motorcyclists are at significantly greater risk of injury or death when involved in a motor vehicle crash. Each time we consider using a cell phone or other hand-held device while driving, we would do well to envision someone we know riding a motorcycle. Perhaps doing so will save a life.

If you or a loved one has been injured due to a distracted driver, and through no fault of your own, you may be entitled to recover a financial award or settlement in compensation for your injuries and expenses. When you need an experienced motorcycle accident attorney to represent your interests, call Altizer Law, P.C. Bettina Altizer and her team will fight for you with determination and tenacity.