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Perfect Storm for Catastrophe: Motorcycles and Distracted Driving

Wednesday August 15, 2012

Gilbert Williams, riding a motorcycle, attempted to pass a vehicle on the inside lane. While Williams attempted to pass the vehicle, a 2006 Volvo S60 pulled into traffic. Williams’ motorcycle skidded to stop, but inevitably collided with the vehicle’s front door.

The collision threw Williams from his motorcycle. He was pronounced dead by emergency staff after being taken to Gulf Coast Hospital.

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Thursday, July 26, 2012

A 2007 Nissan Altima, traveling on State Road 528, pulled behind the motorcycle of 23-year old Matthew Harrington and 24-year old Jennifer Postel. Florida Highway Patrol reports that the Altima failed to slow, resulting in its front striking the rear of the motorcycle. The vehicle continued down State Road 528 with the motorcycle under its front.

Both of the motorcycles passengers were taken to the hospital in critical condition.

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What’s similar about these cases? They’re each examples of drivers who were unaware that a motorcycle was present on the surrounding roadway. What’s worse is that these are not infrequent occurrences or isolated incidents.

One of the most common causes of accidents like these is distracted driving. Distraction.gov describes distracted drivers as those who text, use cell phones, eat/drink, talk to passenger, groom or divert their attention to adjust the car stereo. Across the age ranges of eligible drivers, nearly 50% drive and use their cellphones. Distraction.gov further reports that the drivers, on average, spend 4.6 seconds to send or receive a text message. Though it may not seem like much, take a moment and count that out: 4.6 seconds.

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In that time, if you were driving at 55 miles per hour, you would have crossed an entire football field.

Due to the mental and physical faculties required for cell phone use states issued laws penalizing drivers who use these devices. These laws force drivers to think twice before answering that phone call or text message. However, Florida is not one of those states.

Motorcycles are already smaller, less frequent than other types of vehicles on our roadways, and provide no substantial protection for riders. When we add drivers who are not giving 110% of their faculties or attention to the roadways while operating motor vehicles, a perfect storm of circumstances for injuries or fatalities builds.

Accidents will happen on roadways, but the likelihood that they will occur shouldn’t be increased by distracted driving. For this reason, we have a duty to each other to put down the cell phone, set the radio in our driveways and drive with the utmost care. This means taking those 4.6 seconds that we would use to pick up our cell phone and spending them to keeping an eye out for motorcyclists.

That’s why the Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA zealously represents victims injured by distracted drivers whose behavior contributes to creating these unsafe conditions.

If you have been injured as a result of the negligence exhibited by a distracted driver, please call us at (727) 451-6900 or email [email protected], for a free consultation. The attorneys at the Dolman law Group handle injury claims throughout the State of Florida and maintain an active statewide litigation practice.

Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA is a personal injury and civil trial law firm based in Clearwater, Florida.