Every 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!