Distracted driving has become a growing problem on roadways all across America. More than 3,000 people were killed as a result of distracted driving in 2017, and the state of South Carolina has experienced a significant number of traffic crashes, including distracted-driving-related accidents, over the past few years. The state was ranked #1 in traffic fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles traveled in 2017. Any type of crash is potentially devastating, but the risks are even more serious for motorcyclists when other drivers are not paying attention behind the wheel.
The Dangers of Distracted Driving
Distracted driving occurs when a driver engages in any behavior that takes attention away from the task of driving. Common distractions include:
- Talking on a cell phone
- Attending to children or pets
These behaviors are dangerous because they take away at least one of the three main functions a driver needs to perform: seeing the road, maneuvering the vehicle, and focusing on/thinking about the task of driving. Texting is especially dangerous, as it combines all three forms of distraction.
The Serious Consequences of Motorcycle Accidents in Myrtle Beach
When drivers are distracted, it takes only a second for an accident to occur, and when the accident involves a motorcycle, the consequences are especially dangerous. Motorcycle riders are historically overrepresented in traffic fatalities. Per miles traveled, motorcyclists were killed 27 times more often than car passengers in a crash in 2017.
Motorcycle accidents are especially dangerous to those riding the motorcycle because there are fewer protections than standard vehicles. Motorcycle riders are more exposed, and there are no seat belts, air bags, or even a body frame to protect them from impact and keep them from being thrown from the scene.
Distraction-Related Laws Can Prevent Accidents for Motorcyclists
It’s important to recognize the impact that distracted driving behaviors have on motorcyclists. Recently, researchers at Florida Atlantic University and the University of Miami examined motorcycle accident figures in states with bans on handheld devices (such as cell phones) while driving and in states with no bans. They reported that fatality rates among motorcyclists were as much as 11 percent lower in states with handheld driving bans. South Carolina does not have a handheld ban, which could mean more serious risks for the state’s motorcyclists.
Protect Yourself From Distracted Drivers While on Your Motorcycle
While all drivers should have their full attention on the road, motorcyclists can help themselves by taking steps to be as visible and safe as possible, including:
- Using your headlight at all times, even during the day
- Wearing bright clothing and/or a reflective vest
- Using reflective tape on your motorcycle
- Trying to avoid riding in other drivers’ blind spots
- Tapping your breaks to give the driver behind you a warning when stopping
- Using your horn
- Being extra aware on congested roads and in traffic jams
Myrtle Beach Motorcyclists Have Rights After a Crash
Even good drivers can cause accidents, and when they happen to motorcyclists, often the victims suffer serious injuries. Despite the stigma associated with motorcyclists and their perceived reckless driving behavior, motorcyclists have the same rights as anyone else on the road. If you or someone you love suffered injuries in a crash, you may be eligible to file a legal claim against the distracted driver responsible. Accident victims can obtain compensation for:
- Medical care
- Future medical care
- Lost wages
- Future lost wages
- Pain and suffering
Motorcyclists can fall victim to the careless behavior of other drivers and suffer a serious injury. When they do, distracted drivers should be held accountable. Our experienced lawyers have helped many accident victims obtain the justice and compensation they needed to move forward, and we may be able to help you, too.
Have You Been Injured In A Myrtle Beach Motorcycle Accident?
If you've been injured in a Myrtle Beach motorcycle accident you need to speak with an experienced motorcycle accident attorney as soon as possible. Please contact us online or call our Myrtle Beach, South Carolina office directly at 843.443.4004 to schedule your free consultation. We are also able to meet clients at our Conway, Charleston, Mt. Pleasant, Columbia, North Myrtle Beach or North Charleston office locations.