Florida Study Shows that Distracted Driving Laws Save Motorcyclists’ Lives

Motorcycle AccidentEvery year, distracted driving kills more than 3,400 people. Sadly, a majority of these fatalities are caused by drivers using their cellphones while driving. Just how many people use handheld devices while driving? In 2016, 481,000 passenger vehicles were driven by people using a handheld cell phone each day. Sadly, many of those fatalities were motorcyclists who lack the physical protection necessary to survive the forces of a distracted driving crash.

However, a new study published by researchers from Florida Atlantic University and the University of Miami found that banning the use of mobile phones and handheld devices while driving actually reduced motorcycle fatality rates. To conduct the study, researchers gathered and analyzed data for all fifty states from 2005 and 2015. In particular, they reviewed motorcycle fatality rates from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS). The authors of the study determined that states with moderate to strict cellphone bans actually had an 11% lower motorcycle fatality rate compared to states with no bans.

Florida Cell Phone Laws Most Permissive in Nation

What about Florida’s cell phone laws? Unfortunately, Florida has some of the most permissive cell phone laws in the nation. In fact, Florida is one of only seven states where driving while texting is not a primary offense for all drivers. It is also one of 12 states with no cell phone ban on novice drivers. Florida also does not ban the use of hand-held phones at all.

As of Jan 2019, texting and driving in Florida is only a secondary offense. That means that a police officer cannot stop and ticket a driver for texting while driving, they must have been pulled over for a different driving-related offense. While bills to toughen Florida’s cell phone laws have been filed in the past, they never made it through the House and Senate. Recently, however, a new bill was filed by Sen. Wilton Simpson, R-Trilby. This bill would not only make texting a primary offense, but it would prohibit talking on a cellphone without a hands-free device in the car. If it passes, it could make Florida’s roads safer virtually overnight.

Motorcycle Fatality Rates Over the Decades

The last several decades have seen rapid improvement in the way cars are built. They now come equipped with crash avoidance systems, airbags, and a variety of other safety features. As such, automobile safety has improved drastically. Motorcycle safety, however, has not and motorcycle fatalities have not declined.

In accidents, motorcyclists do not have protection from the forces of the crash. As such, they suffer the majority of the injuries when they are in a collision with a motor vehicle. In addition, due to the sheer size and weight discrepancy of the two vehicles, motorcyclists not only suffer more injuries, they suffer more severe injuries. The majority of the injuries a motorcyclist faces after a crash are life-threatening and many result in permanent disability.

Have You Been Injured in a Florida Motorcycle Accident?

If you’ve been injured in a motorcycle accident in Daytona Beach, Florida, it is important to speak to a skilled and compassionate motorcycle accident lawyer as soon as possible. At Zimmet & Zimmet, our experienced Daytona Beach motorcycle accident lawyers have extensive experience representing injured motorcycle crash victims. Contact us today for a free initial consultation and review of your case. Call 386-255-6400 or fill out our confidential contact form and someone will call you back!

Additional Reading

Motorcycle Accidents

Why Are Motorcycle Accidents So Common in Florida?

Motorcycle Accidents Check the news in any of Florida’s metropolitan areas and you’ll find a report on a recent motorcycle accident. Each year, Florida sees over 10,000 motorcycle accidents. While some of these crashes lead to minor injuries, a significant amount lead to serious injuries or fatalities. When you know why accidents are so common in Florida, you can take extra steps to stay safe on the road.


High Number of Licensed Motorcyclists

Florida has many motorcyclists compared to similarly sized states. Over one million licensed motorcyclists take to Florida’s roads on a regular basis. Florida is known for its busy roads. Compared to cars and other vehicles, motorcycles offer very little protection from accidents. Add heavy traffic to the equation and the risk for an accident goes up even more.

Visiting Motorcyclists

Not only does Florida’s beautiful weather attract year-round residents, it also brings tourists from all over the world. Florida’s tourism website notes the variety of roads that let motorcyclists take advantage of warm weather and appealing views. However, when there are lots of visitors who are unfamiliar with the roads in an area, the risk of an accident increases. It’s easy for a rider to overestimate their skills on unfamiliar roads and take a turn too fast, miss important road signs, or be unprepared for inclement weather.

Inattentive Drivers

While many motorcyclists are very attentive, people driving cars, SUVs, and trucks aren’t always quite as careful around riders. Drivers may forget to check their blind spots or check twice before turning or changing lanes, putting the motorcyclists around them at serious risk. Motorists are encouraged to leave plenty of space between their vehicle and nearby motorcycles, check blind spots, avoid tailgating motorcycles, and minimize distractions while driving. Motorcycle riders should remain vigilant and take precautionary measures to protect themselves, since they are at greater risk of serious harm in accidents involving motorcycles and other vehicles. A recent fatal accident in the Tampa Bay area demonstrates this point. At an intersection, an elderly woman driving a Toyota turned left in front of a motorcyclist who had the right of way. The motorcyclist crashed into the right side of the car and was pronounced dead at the scene. The driver of the car sustained minor injuries.

Safety Precautions

Although most motorcyclists take extra steps to protect themselves on the road, some do not follow safety precautions. This makes accidents more likely and often increases the severity of crashes. Riders should always use protective gear, perform regular motorcycle inspections, minimize distractions, and only drive when sober. Even if a motorcyclist doesn’t take these precautions, that doesn’t mean that they’re automatically at fault for any accidents that occur. Before admitting fault in a crash, contact a motorcycle accident lawyer in Florida.

Act Quickly After Being Involved in a Florida Motorcycle Accident

No matter how careful you are on the road, accidents do occur. If you or someone you love has been injured in a motorcycle crash, reach out to the experts at Zimmet & Zimmet. Call (386) 255-6400 for a free case evaluation.

For More Information

Is Florida the Most Dangerous State for Motorcyclists?


Is Florida the Most Dangerous State for Motorcyclists?

True Cost of Nursing Home Abuse

According to the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration, the Sunshine State could very well be the most dangerous state for motorcycle enthusiasts. Shockingly, the number of motorcyclists killed in Florida is higher than in California, even though Florida has a significantly smaller population. In fact, from 2014 to 2015, there was a 30 percent increase in motorcycle-related fatalities, which many experts attribute to a lack of helmet use. While 83 percent of Florida motorcyclists say they wear a helmet, in reality, only about 47 percent actually do.

Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents

Unfortunately, lack of helmet use is just one of the many reasons why motorcycle fatalities are on the rise. Because of the typically sunny weather, motorcycles are popular in Florida, which means there are more motorcyclists on the roadways at any given time. What’s more, many motorists simply fail to recognize motorcyclists on the road. While most drivers are “conditioned” to watch out for other cars and trucks, many see a motorcyclist with actually “seeing” them.

When you add in a substantial elderly population in the state, which conceivably contributes to accidents in which the driver fails to see a motorcyclist on the road, it’s easier to understand why there were motorcycle deaths 67 Miami-Dade County in 2015, and 26 motorcycle fatalities just two years ago in both Orange and Lee Counties.

Driver Distraction Is Dangerous for Motorcyclists 

Distracted driving causes an untold number of auto accidents. While experts now believe distracted drivers could be the number one cause of auto accidents, distracted driving is tough to definitively prove. After all, few drivers admit to driving distracted following an accident. Despite the fact that our society takes great pride in multi-tasking abilities, driving is one activity that should always have 100 percent of a driver’s attention.

Yet every single day, drivers engage in various forms of distracted driving, including:

  • Talking on their phones
  • Texting
  • Fiddling with the controls in the car
  • Changing radio stations
  • Using GPS navigation
  • Eating
  • Checking on backseat passengers
  • Talking to passengers
  • Personal grooming

 Other Causes of Florida Motorcycle Accidents

Many motorcycle accidents are the result of an inexperienced driver. A motorcycle requires significantly more experience and coordination to operate than a car. Since a majority of motorcyclists are self-taught, their experience may be lacking. Whether taking a curve too fast, braking too quickly or driving in a manner which is not appropriate for inclement weather, the inexperience of a motorcyclist can quickly result in tragedy. Road hazards like potholes, oil slicks, ruts in the road, rain puddles, tree limbs or debris, and uneven pavement can also cause serious motorcycle accidents.

Contact Our Florida Motorcycle Accident Attorneys Today

If you’ve been injured in a motorcycle accident in Daytona Beach, Palm Beach, Fort Lauderdale, or anywhere else in the state of Florida, the steps you take immediately following the accident could significantly impact your claim.

Motorcyclists often face an uphill battle when seeking compensation, which is why you need an experienced Florida motorcycle accident attorney in your corner. At Zimmet & Zimmet, our lawyers have the skills and resources needed to tackle even the most complex motorcycle accident.  Contact us today at (386) 255-6400 for a free initial consultation and review of your case.