Motorcycle Fatalities Highest in Florida
Data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) shows that Florida has the greatest number of motorcycle deaths in the country. Motorcycle fatalities rose 30 percent, leading to a record high number of deaths in 2015. Even though motorcycles only make up three percent of registered vehicles in the state, 20 percent (one-fifth) or motor vehicle deaths were motorcyclists.
Parker Waichman LLP, a personal injury law firm based out of Florida and New York, has decades of experience representing automobile accident victims. The firm continues to offer free legal consultations to individuals with questions about filing a Florida motorcycle accident lawsuit.
“Time and time again the effectiveness of motorcycle helmets has been proven through scientific study,” said Karen Morgan, Public Policy Manager, AAA – The Auto Club Group, according to Space Coast Daily. “AAA strongly supports a universal helmet law in Florida.”
Motorcycle accidents caused 9,045 injuries and 606 deaths in 2015.
Space Coast Daily Beast reports an apparent discrepancy between motorcyclists who claim to wear their helmets versus actual helmet use. A survey conducted by the AAA Consumer Pulse found that 83 percent of motorcycle riders reported wearing a helmet when they ride. However, only 47 percent of riders were observed wearing a helmet in a motorcycle helmet usage report.
“Wearing a helmet could mean the difference between life and death,” said Josh Carrasco, spokesman, AAA – The Auto Club Group, according to Space Coast Daily. “Our goal is to make sure all motorists arrive safely at their destination, including motorcyclists.”
By county, Miami-Dade had the greatest number of motorcycle fatalities (67), followed by Hillsborough (48), Broward (42), and Palm Beach (34).
Motorcycle accidents can cause both physical trauma as well as financial strain. However, a AAA Consumer Pulse survey found that 15 percent of motorcyclists do not have motorcycle insurance. According the Florida Department of health, the average cost for a motorcycle accident victim admitted to a hospital was $83,676. Wearing a helmet can prevent both physical injuries and costly medical bills.
Motorcycle Safety Tips
According to AAA, there are several safety tips that motorists can follow on the road to prevent the chance of motorcycle accidents. Motorcyclists are encouraged to wear safety gear. This includes helmets that meet DOT compliance standards, eye protection, closed-toe footwear and protective clothing. Your safety gear is the only barrier between your body and the ground.
Motorcyclists can also prevent an accident by making themselves visible to other motorists on the road. Headlights, markers, and taillights should be on at dusk, dark, and during rainy weather. Bright clothing and reflective strips on your bike can help other motorists see you more easily. Being in the blind spot of cars and trucks increases the risk of an accident, as the driver is unable to see you. Avoid being in the blind spot by giving three or four seconds between you and the vehicle in front of you.
In general, use sound judgment and drive responsibly. Use your signals and comply with the speed limit. Do not weave between lanes, as this increases your risk of an accident.
Motorcyclists can improve their skills by getting proper training, such as through a motorcycle safety course. This can also save you money on your motorcycle insurance.
Just as motorcyclists have guidelines to stay safe, there are tips that other motorists on the road should implement to prevent motorcycle accidents. AAA advises motorists to respect motorcycle riders by giving them enough space; motorcycles are also vehicles that have the same privileges as cars. Keep in mind that poor weather conditions, uneven terrain and heavy traffic require a motorcyclist to react differently. Leave an ample amount of space, especially during these conditions.
Drivers on the road should stay alert, and look out for any motorcycles on the road. Keep in mind that you may not hear a motorcyclist, even if the bike is loud.
Most motorcycle-on-automobile accidents occur during left-hand turns. Be cognizant of this, and take extra care when making a left-hand turn.
Avoid distractions while driving so you can focus all your attention on the road. Even taking your eyes off the road for two seconds doubles your risk of a crash.
Traffic Deaths on the Rise in the United States
Parker Waichman notes that traffic deaths are increasing nationwide, the latest statistics show. NHTSA data shows that 2015 had the largest spike in traffic deaths in 50 years. The rise in traffic fatalities is attributed to increased driving, driving while intoxicated, speeding and distracted driving.
According to statistics from NHTSA, traffic deaths increased seven percent, totaling over 35,000 in 2015. During the first half of 2016, 17,775 people died in a motor vehicle accident compared to 16,100 during the same period the year prior. The second quarter of 2016 also represents the seventh consecutive quarter where traffic deaths increased compared to the same period the year before.
Data from the National Safety Council, which tallies fatalities differently than the NHTSA, also shows a rise in deaths. NSC reports that motor vehicle fatalities increased by six percent in 2016; traffic deaths totaled 40,200. This marks the first-time traffic deaths have exceeded 40,000 since 2007.
A report released by Advocates for Highway & Auto Safety said that states must pass additional safety laws to address the rising number of deaths on the roads.
Government agencies have announced plans to reduce the number of traffic deaths. Among other things, the NHTSA, NSC, and the National Transportation Safety Board announced its “Road to Zero” initiative last fall seeking to eliminate traffic deaths in the next 30 years.
NHTSA also proposed guideline to reduce distracted driving. The agency proposed that phone makers develop a “driving mode” that involves a simpler interface. The proposed guidelines also suggest that phones pair with the car’s infotainment system.
Legal Help for Motorcycle Accident Victims
Parker Waichman has decades of experience representing car accident and other motor vehicle accident victims. If you or someone you know was injured in a car or motorcycle accident, you may have valuable legal rights. Our personal injury attorneys offer free, no-obligation case evaluations. For more information, fill out our online form or call 1-800-YOURLAWYER (1-800-968-7529).