Distracted Driving and Motorcycle Accidents
A driver’s behavior becomes distracted when he or she participates in any activity that diverts attention from driving. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), approximately 3,300 drivers and passengers lose their lives each year in accidents attributed to distracted driving. More than 1,000 times this number sustain serious injuries. Texting or talking on a cell phone while driving are the top two causes of crashes.
Distracted Driving Can Be Cognitive, Manual, or Visual
There are several types of distracted driving. For example, looking away from the road ahead to a someone walking down the sidewalk is only a visual distraction. The driver’s hands remain on the wheel and he or she is likely still mentally focused on driving. If attention shifts more to the pedestrian, the driver is now distracted cognitively as well. A cognitive distraction means the driver is physically present but thinking of something completely unrelated to driving.
Another category of distracted driving is manual distraction. This happens when the driver removes his or hands from the wheel to attend to something else. It could be as simple as adjusting the car’s rearview mirror or taking a sip of coffee or as involved as applying make-up or eating.
One reason that cell phone use and texting are such deadly distractions is they required the driver to engage in cognitive, manual, and visual distraction all at the same time. A driver simply can’t respond appropriately when his or her mind, hands, and eyes are not where they need to be.
The Consequences of Distracted Driving Are More Serious in Motorcycle Accidents
Motorcyclists who crash with private or commercial vehicles are much more likely to sustain significant injuries or to become a fatality. One reason is that distracted drivers have less time to respond to things like changes in weather conditions, road construction, and cars and bikes slowing down in front of them. Another is that motorcyclists are on the open road and don’t have the same protection as people in cars and trucks.
It’s probably no surprise to read that head injuries are the most typical injury suffered when a motorcyclist crashes, whether the driver and passenger wore helmets or not. However, a helmet can decrease the severity of the injury when the head hits the road as well as protect the neck.
The second highest type of injury when a motorcyclist collides with a distracted driver is road rash. This describes the burns, cuts, scrapes, and scratches the accident victim receives due to the force of the crash dragging him or her along the street or highway. While these types of burns differ from chemical burns, they are painful and recovery can be a long process.
Broken bones, fractures, and sprains are also common in this type of crash. The typical body parts affected include the arms, legs, hands, feet, and knees. If the driver or passenger breaks his or her back or neck, it could result in lifelong paralysis.
These types of injuries are normally obvious within minutes of the crash. Damage to ligaments and muscles are not. You may walk away from the accident seemingly unharmed only to wake up in serious pain a few weeks later. Fortunately, Kentucky law gives you one year to file a personal injury lawsuit if your injuries aren’t immediately obvious.
Has a Distracted Driver Impacted Your Life?
You bought a motorcycle because you loved the freedom it gave you, but you still expected others on the road to do their part to ensure public safety. If you are dealing with the aftermath of an accident with a distracted driver, you need an experienced personal injury attorney to help you fight for fair compensation. Please contact Davis & Haymond, P.S.C. in Irvine at 606-726-9991, McKee at 606-287-4890, or Richmond at 859-624-3380 to request a free consultation to learn more about the process.