Distracted drivers help push NJ motorcycle accident rates up
According to New Jersey State’s Attorney General John. J. Hoffman, distracted driving in our state has become something of an epidemic.
In fact, he referred to the past 10 years of motor vehicle accidents as our state’s “Distracted Driving Decade.” Regular readers here will know that when I saw this statistic, one of my first thoughts was to wonder how this epidemic impacted NJ motorcycle accident rates.
Over the same 10 year period as the distracted driving studies took place, NJ motorcycle accident rates also increased. Now, as an experienced New Jersey motorcycle accident attorney, I understand that correlation is not the same as causation.
But let’s be serious. In New Jersey, 3 in 10 drivers have admitted to texting while driving (both texting and talking on the phone while driving are illegal in the Garden State).
These statistics paint a very compelling picture to me: increased rates of distracted driving contribute to increased NJ motorcycle accident rates.
What is distracted driving?
Before we go any further, let’s define distracted driving and talk about its causes. It will come as no surprise that the increase in distracted driving has tracked very closely with the rise of near universal smartphone usage over the last 10 years.
The studies cited by the Attorney General include simply taking your eyes off the road, and your hands off the wheel, and even taking your mind off the act of driving, in their definition.
At the same time, distraction.gov, the US government’s website devoted to reducing distracted driving accidents, reports that at any given moment more than 660,000 cars are being operated by someone using a cell phone. I don’t think anyone should have any illusions about what most people are doing with their hands and eyes when they get distracted.
5 tips for avoiding distracted drivers
So now we have a pretty good understanding of what distracted driving is, and (in my opinion) a pretty compelling argument that it probably impacts motorcycle accident rates.
The big question at this point is how do we as motorcycle riders avoid falling to this epidemic? The tips are honestly not that much different from what a good NJ motorcycle injury attorney would recommend in any case.
- Ride defensively – You already know that motorists often don’t see bikers even when they are supposedly paying full attention. So you can safely assume that with a cell phone plastered against his head, that driver is even less likely to see you.
- Be visible – Stay out of blind spots, wear reflective or bright clothing and keep your lights on, even during the day. Anything to draw attention to you will help break the spell of that smartphone.
- Remember the 2 second and 4 second rules – You need time and space to react when a distracted driver starts to drift, lane wander, or randomly speed up and slow down. Your best bet is to make sure you have a good cushion of space all around the bike.
- Don’t get t-boned – The classic car vs. bike accident is a car pulling out from the right or turning left in front of you. The driver’s time-honored story? “I never saw him, Officer.” Now replay that scenario with the driver of the car cuing up the latest Rihanna jams on her iPod, and the need to be extra vigilant is obvious.
- Don’t be part of the problem – It should probably go without saying at this point, but every single danger that distracted driving causes is ramped up exponentially if you do it on your bike, because you don’t have the protective metal and fiberglass cocoon of that car protecting you. Hang up and ride.
Have you been the victim of a distracted driver? Call experienced New Jersey motorcycle accident lawyer Lee D. Gaber right now at 1-888-292-5352 (1-888-CYCLE-LAW) to schedule your free consultation.