Alabama Ranked 8th in Nation for Fatal Motorcycle Accidents

Posted in Car Accidents on November 14, 2018.

The Auto Insurance Center recently reported that Alabama ranked eighth in the nation for fatal motorcycle accidents. Motorcyclists face a higher degree of risk on the road than other drivers due to the poor protection their vehicles provide in accidents. However, many of the same risk factors that lead to passenger vehicle accidents also affect motorcyclists.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there were 4,796 motorcycle accident fatalities in 2016 alone and accounted for about 13% of all traffic deaths in the country that year. It’s crucial for all motorcyclists in Alabama to know the risks of a motorcycle accident, how to avoid accidents, and recovery options for when accidents happen.

Helmet Use

Studies from the CDC and Alabama Department of Transportation indicate helmet use has an undeniable effect on the number of motorcycle fatalities, preventing about 37% of fatal injuries from motorcycle accidents and reducing the chance of a victim suffering a traumatic head injury. Alabama law requires all riders and passengers of all ages to wear appropriate helmets at all times while on motorcycles. There are many varieties of helmets for riders to purchase, but the DOT recommends a full-face helmet with a visor. A fully enclosed helmet with padding offers the best protection from a head injury or fall after an accident.

Alcohol-Related Accidents

The CDC reports that alcohol has a major influence on the number of motorcycle deaths each year. In 2016, alcohol was a factor in more than 25% of all motorcycle accidents. Driving under the influence of alcohol is extremely dangerous for any driver, but a motorcycle is not as crashworthy as an enclosed passenger car so a motorcyclist faces a much higher risk of serious injury or death in an accident.

A driver who causes a motorcycle accident due to alcohol use stands to face criminal prosecution from the state in addition to civil claims from anyone injured in the accident. DUI charges can lead to heavy fines, license suspension, and even jail time. These penalties also increase with multiple offenses.

Speeding and Moving Violations

Motorcycles are smaller and more maneuverable than larger cars, and this unfortunately encourages some riders to engage in aggressive and unsafe actions on the road. Motorcycles that white-line, or split lanes, may do so to avoid an accident or to simply pass through adjacent lanes of slower-moving vehicles. While some states allow this practice or do not have laws explicitly prohibiting lane-splitting, Alabama law does expressly forbid the practice. A motorcyclist who experiences a crash during or due to lane-splitting will likely face some amount of liability for the resulting damages.

All drivers have a responsibility to avoid crashes and drive their vehicles safely, and motorcyclists have the same duty of care as any other driver on the road. Distracted driving, speeding, and moving violations can cause accidents for any type of vehicle. However, motorcyclists stand to lose the most and suffer the greatest injuries when accidents happen.

When Can I File a Lawsuit for a Motorcycle Injury?

Alabama follows a fault-based system for handling car accidents, meaning an at-fault driver’s negligence makes him or her liable for the damages resulting from that negligence. Alabama also follows a contributory negligence law, so a plaintiff could potentially lose his or her right to compensation if he or she bears any liability for the crash.

Motorcyclists have the same duty of care to drive safely and abide by the traffic laws that all drivers share. Many of the most common causes of motorcycle accidents throughout the country are the same in Alabama, and the higher than average number of motorcycle fatalities results from many factors. When motorcyclists ride with care, follow the rules of the road, and refrain from distracting and illegal behaviors on the road they dramatically lower their risk of a serious accident.