Newspapers nowadays seem more concerned with political scandal and celebrity sightings. Donald Trump, Stormy Daniels, Michael Cohen, etc. Sometimes good news understandably gets overlooked. One piece of information that does bear repeating is that nationwide Motorcycle fatalities are declining. Whenever a motorcyclist dies because some texting motorist or inattentive driver left turned in front of a motorcycle it is always a tragedy. Still, every less death on the road is a cause for celebration.
A new report from the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) revealed that in 2017 the number of motorcyclists killed on the road dropped by 5.6% to just under 5000 motorcycle accident wrongful deaths. The actual number, 4,990 people killed on motorcycles in 2017, is not the desired goal of zero riders killed, but to see the numbers go down at least is a step in the right direction. This number, based on preliminary data provided by State Highway Safety Offices (SHSOs), represents a projected 5.6% decrease from 2016 – a difference of 296 lives.
In spite of this reduction, motorcyclists remain significantly overrepresented as a proportion of all traffic deaths, with motorcyclist fatalities occurring 28 times more often than passenger vehicle occupant fatalities per mile traveled. This is a stark reminder that much work remains to establish a lasting downward trend.
The report provides an early look at current data, trends, and developing issues. All 50 states and the District of Columbia contributed their preliminary motorcyclist fatality counts for the full 2017 calendar year. Compared with 2016, motorcyclist fatalities decreased in 30 states, remained the same in two states, and increased in 18 states.
State responses indicate a variety of factors may have been contributing to motorcyclist fatalities in 2017, including:
- Alcohol impairment: 25 percent of motorcyclists involved in fatal crashes in 2016 had a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) over the legal limit, the highest percentage of any other vehicle type. State data signal that this trend continued in 2017.
- Drug impairment: With recreational marijuana legalized in several states, there may be a higher number of drivers and motorcyclists under the influence of drugs. Marijuana impairment is known to increase a person’s crash risk, and a 2017 Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) study found that overall vehicle collision claims in states with legalized recreational marijuana were three percent higher than would have been expected without legalization.
- Distraction: Several states reported an increase in distracted riding fatalities in recent years, with one state (Virginia) recording more than double the number of distracted riding fatalities from 2016 to 2017.
Over the years the Law Offices of Proner and Proner have had the awesome responsibility of representing numerous families of riders who were killed because of the 100% fault of drivers that didn’t pay careful attention to the other vehicles on the road. That is why our advice to all riders is to ride like you are invisible because many times to the distracted drivers out there, you are. Never think that oncoming vehicle waiting to make a turn at an intersection or pull out from the stop sign will respect your right of way. Always be prepared to sound your horn and practice emergency stopping.
If you are ever in need of counsel from an attorney to discuss any of the issues involved in distracted drivers and the motorcycle riders, contact Proner and Proner, New York experienced motorcycle accident lawyers.