Drunk driving is a problem throughout the United States. Florida is no exception to this national trend. In fact, Florida arrested some 31,000 drunk drivers during 2014, according to 1 published by Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD). Drunk driving puts not only the driver’s life at risk, but it also increases the risk of injury or death to other nearby drivers.
Motorcyclists are at an even greater risk of injury or death when drunk driving is involved. Recent statistics published by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration show that drunk driving deaths involving motorcycles are on the rise. Motorcyclists have the highest percentage of alcohol-related deaths; a 2 (27%) of motorcyclists killed in driving accidents had a blood alcohol content (BAC) greater than the nationally-adopted limit of .08. That means that more than one-quarter of all motorcyclists, whether drivers or passengers, died in an automotive accident involving alcohol.
Why Do Motorcycles Pose Such a Risk?
When analyzing the number of fatalities involving drunk motorcyclists, it is not unreasonable to inquire as to the causes of deaths, especially whenever alcohol is involved. However, a quick look beyond the statistics provides some insight. A variety factors such as a motorcycle’s design, the manner of operation, and a lack of preventative laws that may factor into Florida’s relatively high number of motorcycle fatalities.
A motorcycle, by design, is much more dangerous than that of a car, truck, or other enclosed motor vehicle. Motorcycles generally feature an open, in-line design where the driver is seated between two wheels. The lack of an enclosure exposes the motorcyclist to the elements. The motorcycle’s design does not protect the motorcyclist’s body in an accident. A motorcyclist may be thrown from the motorcycle, may strike the ground or another object when crashing, or may be directly struck by another vehicle during an accident. These collisions can result in serious physical harm or even death. Motorcyclists who survive should expect sizeable medical bills and additional expenses in connection with serious injuries. Those who are fatally injured often create financial complications for their survivors.
Motorcyclists who drive drunk are at higher risk of injury or death because of how they may operate the motorcycle. Alcohol affects an individual’s motor skills, vision and perception, and reaction time. As a result, drunk drivers are more likely to engage in compromising behavior such as driving at rapidly varying speeds, driving aggressively, or driving erratically. These behaviors can increase the risk of an accident, whether involving a single vehicle or several. This reckless driving also places other drivers at greater risk of being seriously injured in an accident. Drunk drivers can create dangerous situations whenever they swerve across lanes, drive at varying speeds, or whenever their delayed reaction time keeps them from avoiding potential hazards.
Although motorcyclists who drive drunk are a serious problem which needs addressing, Florida’s inaction on helmets causes additional problems. Florida does not require those operating a motorcycle to wear a helmet. Motorcyclists electing to operate a motorcycle without wearing a helmet suffer no legal consequences, but they do run the risk of suffering serious injury in the event of an accident. The NHTSA’s recent figures estimate that approximately 40% of motorcyclists in driving accidents died because they did not wear a helmet. Wearing a helmet may have saved some 700 lives. Failing to wear a helmet can be fatal. If the individual failing to wear a helmet survives, he or she may develop traumatic brain injury — a condition which can have serious, lasting consequences for the rider and his or her family.
Other Potential Consequences from Drunk Driving
Drunk driving motorcycle accidents may cause personal property damage in addition to serious physical injuries. Drunk motorcyclists may lose control of their vehicle and collide with another’s property. These collisions may cause significant damage despite a motorcycle’s smaller size. As with personal injury matters, a drunk motorcyclist may be liable repay any damages he or she causes to another’s property.
Contact a Clearwater Motorcycle Accident Lawyer at Dolman Law Group Today
Drunk driving is no joke. Call the of St. Petersburg, FL today if either you or a loved one has been injured by a drunk motorcyclist. Our team of skilled and learned attorneys will advocate on your behalf so that you may recover the financial compensation you deserve. Schedule your free consultation by calling 727-451-6900 today.