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Distracted driving and motorcycles: a deadly mix

Readers may be familiar with the expression, a New York minute. The phrase refers to the multi-tasking, fast pace of life shared by many in New York City and greater New York. In fact, a New York minute might even be as short as a few seconds.

Yet what happens when that hectic approach is adopted behind the wheel? In law week’s post, we explored a proposal to approach distracted driving similar to drunk driving enforcement efforts. Today’s post provides more data regarding how smartphones may be making New York’s roads and highways less safe.

According to one study, the average time during which a person takes his or her eyes of the road to text is five seconds. For vehicles traveling at high speed, consider all that might go wrong in that interval of time. At 60 miles per hour, a vehicle would travel about 440 feet in that distance. If any stretch of the 440 feet of roadway contained a change in road or traffic conditions, or perhaps a motorcyclist who had not been clearly in view, the texting driver would simply drive forward, negligent and oblivious.

According to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, over 92,000 motorcyclists were injured in 2014. Although that statistic represents injuries from all types of accidents, the truth is that motorcycles can be hard to see. At least one state department of transportation has responded with a month-long safety campaign, encouraging other drivers to look twice for any motorcycles on the road. 

Source: Claims Journal, “Motorcycle Safety Priority During Month-long Campaign,” Denise Johnson, May 5, 2016

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