Motorcycle Fatalities Continue to Increase in MD, VA and the District of Columbia

April 29, 2013

Speeding, alcohol, inexperience, impaired driving and the lack of helmet use are factors that affect the increase in motorcycle deaths in Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia. Motorcycle deaths continue to climb. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimated that 706 motorcyclists who died in 2010 would have survived if they had been wearing their helmets. In 29% of the fatalities in 2010, the motorcyclists had a blood-alcohol content about the legal limit and about 35% of the motorcyclists were found to be speeding. Other factors include, motor vehicle drivers not being attentive enough to their surroundings, violating the motorcyclists right of way and being impaired.

Only 19 states, including Maryland and Virginia, and the District of Columbia have helmet requirements and laws for all riders.

In the first nine months of 2012, there were 138 motorcycle deaths in Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia. Nationwide, the number of motorcycle fatalities were 3,922, in the same period of time. Therefore, the number of motorcycle deaths has almost doubled in recent years. When all the motorcycle fatalities are calculated for 2012, it is believed that the number of deaths will be close to 5,000. Nationwide, 34 states reported more deaths in 2012 and 16 recorded fewer. In 2011, there were three motorcycle deaths in the District of Columbia, 63 in Maryland and 72 in Virginia.

The Governors Highway Safety Administration (GHSA) believed that good weather, higher gas prices and an improving economy were the most common explanations for the rise in motorcycle fatalities. Troy Costales, the immediate past president of the GHSA stated that, “The fatality increase is disheartening.” “Every motorcyclist deserves to arrive at their destination safely. These numbers represent real people – they are family, friends and neighbors.”

Maryland currently has the following Motorcycle requirements: Helmets must be worn by the motorcycle operator and passenger at all times and eye protection must be used. The motorcycle helmet must have a windscreen or the motorcycle operator must wear approved eye-protective device.

The state of Maryland also offers rider training courses because riding a motorcycle requires special skills and concentration. The courses are offered to both new and experienced riders. The courses teach the participants the special skills and mental strategies necessary for responsible motorcycle operation. The course approved curricula meets and exceeds the standards established by the Motorcycle Safety Foundation. For more information on these motorcycle rider training courses, please visit the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration’s motorcycle training site.

Traffic Accidents Still Leading Cause of Teenage Deaths in the U.S.

April 17, 2013

In the United States, traffic accidents are still the leading cause of teenage deaths, according to a report issued in April 2013 by the Center for Injury Research and Prevention at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) and State Farm Insurance. The main causes of teenage car accidents, according to the report, are texting while driving, driving while intoxicated, driving while under the influence, distracted driving, speeding and lack of seat belt use. Speeding in particular counts for more than half of fatal crashes which involve teens ages 15 to 19 years of age. As for texting while driving, the report states that one third of teen driver’s still report texting, messaging and/or emailing while driving.

41 percent of car accidents studied in the CHOP report stated that teens had a blood alcohol content level higher than 0.01, which is an increase from 38 percent when the same study was conducted in 2008. Therefore; it is estimated that teens have car accidents at four times the rate of adult drivers ages 25 to 69.

The report states that by reducing distractions from passengers and technology, improving skills in scanning, hazard detection, speed management and increased seat belt use would lower teen crashes and ultimately teen fatalities. Parents are also encouraged to enforce tougher rules and limitations to their new licensed teen drivers. Such as, limiting the number of friends their teens may have in one vehicle at any given time and to make their vehicles a no phone zone, which means that the driver is not allowed to use their cell phone until they have reached their destination. Handheld or hands-free devices should be included. Also, parents should set time limits to their new licensed teen drivers. Make sure these teens are not driving too late into the evening, in the dark, too early in the morning or for too long a period of time.

If both teens and parents educate themselves to the rules of the road and sit down and make sure that limits and rules are set for teen drivers, then teen car accidents and fatalities as a result of teen car accidents would decrease in a major way. Remember that driving is a privilege and not a right; therefore, it is a responsibility that we all must take seriously, teen or adult. Everyone should take responsibility for themselves and others when operating a motor vehicle.

If you were involved in a car accident, call our experienced team of Washington, D.C. product liability lawyers at (202) 785-2244 and set up a free consultation so we can better explain how we may be able to help you and your family protected rights.