Articles Posted in Motorcycle Accidents

According to a University of Rochester Medical Center study, aging motorcyclists have a higher risk of getting hurt or dying during a traffic crash than their younger counterparts. This is contrary to the belief that the typical motorcycle victims are young, healthy riders.

Among the study’s findings:

• Between 1996 – 2005, the average age range for motorcycle accident victims was ages 34 to 39.

According to the US Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the number of US traffic fatalities dropped to 33,963 in 2009. That’s an 8.9% decrease from 2008 when there were 37,261 highway deaths. This is also the lowest that the US traffic fatality figure has dropped down to since 1994, and the 15th quarter in a row that there has been a decrease.

While National Highway Traffic Safety Administrator David Strickland called the continued decrease in traffic deaths encouraging, he says that the government will keep working hard to keep bringing the death toll down. The NHTSA took aggressive action last year to stop motorists from drinking with its Drunk Driving. Over the Limit. Under Arrest campaign. It’s Click It or Ticket campaign cited people for not putting on their seat belt. The federal government also made great strides toward discouraging distracted driving—especially cell phone use and text messaging while operating a motor vehicle.

Our Washington DC personal injury lawyers applaud the government’s effort to lower the number of traffic deaths. We also are in agreement that there is more than can be done to encourage drivers to operate their cars responsibly so that more vehicle occupants and pedestrians don’t get hurt or die unnecessarily.

Just last week, US Senate majority Leader Harry Reid’s wife and daughter were injured in a semi-truck crash near Washington DC. Landra Reid, 69, and Lara Barringer, 49, received medical attention after they were struck by a tractor-trailer.

Landra suffered a broken back, nose, and neck, while Lana, who sustained cuts, was examined by a neurologist because she has been experiencing dizziness. Trucker Alan W. Snader was charged with reckless driving for his role in the tractor-trailer crash.

Traffic Fatalities for 2009 Reach Record Low, NHTSA, March 11, 2010
Reid’s wife, daughter recovering from truck crash, Associated Press, March 16, 2010
Related Web Resources:

Early estimate of motor vehicle traffic fatalities in 2009, NHTSA (PDF)

District Department of Transportation

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According to AAA, about 87.7 million people in the US are expected to travel at least 50 miles away from home this holiday season—77.7 million travelers by motor vehicle. In Washington DC, approximately 2.5 million people are expected to leave town and most of them plan on doing so by car. That’s 4 out of 10 Washingtonians, says AAA.

With many roads and freeways undoubtedly more crowded than usual, our Washington DC car crash lawyers would like to remind motorists to drive safely so that you aren’t involved in an auto collision. Common bad driving behaviors that cause Washington DC motor vehicle accidents and can be cause for personal injury claims or wrongful death lawsuits include:

• Drunk driving

According to the 2009 Sleep in America poll by the National Sleep Foundation, about 1.9 Million Drivers are involved in drowsy driving car crashes or near miss accidents each year. Unfortunately, many people underestimate the power sleepiness can have in causing Washington DC car accidents.

Per the poll, 105 million US drivers have driven while sleepy in the last year. 54 million drivers drive while drowsy at least once a month.

National Sleep Foundation chairman Thomas Balkin says that while motorists are good at recognizing when they are tired, this doesn’t stop them from getting behind the wheel of a motor vehicle and driving. Balkin says that people mistakenly think that they can will themselves to stay awake but they often don’t even realize that they are falling asleep. Balkin notes that just one moment of “reduced awareness” can cause a motor vehicle crash.

Drowsy driving slows reflexes, reduces alertness, and impairs one’s ability to think clearly and rapidly respond to an emergency situation. A person who is sleepy or very tired while driving might inadvertently lane change, let go of the steering wheel, fail to notice traffic signs, not see other vehicles or pedestrians, drive off the road, or drive into oncoming traffic.

Drowsy driving can be grounds for a Washington DC injury claim or wrongful death lawsuit if another person is injured as a result.

In an attempt to decrease the number of drowsy driving accidents, the National Sleep Foundation has declared November 2 – 8 Drowsy Driving Prevention Week.

Ways to Avoid Drowsy Driving:

• Get a good night’s driving.
• Take periodic brakes (every 2 hours or every 100 miles).
• Don’t drink alcohol or take medications that cause drowsiness before driving.
• If necessary, stop and take a nap.

• Take caffeine if necessary.

.9 Million Drivers Have Fatigue-Related Car Crashes or Near Misses Each Year, Reuters, October 29, 2009
Drowsy Driving: Reduce Your Risk of Falling Asleep Behind the Wheel, Associated Content, June 27, 2006
Related Web Resources:

National Sleep Foundation


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The Federal Highway Administration says it will conduct a study so it can understand what causes motorcycle crashes and how to prevent them from happening. Our Washington DC motorcycle crash lawyers wish to point out that this is an important endeavor, considering that almost 5,300 motorcycle riders died last year while 96,000 others were injured.

The federal government hasn’t conducted a study like this since its Hurt Report in 1981—that was almost 30 years ago. Oklahoma State University’s Oklahoma Transportation Center will be the study’s lead researcher.

Information from hundreds of motorcycle accidents will be examined in an attempt to pinpoint common factors, such as rider experience, road configurations, and environmental conditions. Hopefully figuring out the latest common causes of motorcycle crashes will allow for countermeasures to be identified, developed, and implemented.

From 1997 – 2008, the US Department of Transportation’s Fatality Analysis Reporting says that the number of motorcycle deaths went up by 150% from 2,116 to 5,290 motorcycle fatalities.

Washington DC Motorcycle Accidents

Motorcycle riders are vulnerable to sustaining serious injuries whenever they are involved in a traffic accident. Motorcyclists only have their helmet and protective clothing to protect them. Statistically, their chances of dying in a motorcycle crash is more than 20 times greater than the fatality risk of someone riding in a car. In most motorcycle-car accidents, it is usually the driver of the motor vehicle who caused the traffic collision.

While efforts have been made to teach motorcycles and car drivers, truckers, and bus drivers how to share the road safely with each other, this is not always the case. It doesn’t help that there are the occasional defective road conditions and motorcycle part defects that can cause a motorcyclist to crash without another motorist’s help.

Federal Government To Study Motorcycle Crash Causation, Chicago Now, October 9, 2009
Related Web Resources:
The Hurt Report Summary

Motorcycle Safety Foundation

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According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 38 motorcyclists died in the District and the nearby jurisdictions in 2008. Now, according to Peter Horst of the American Motorcyclist Association, this figure is expected to grow for 2009.

Just this month, three motorcyclists were killed within a 36-hour period in traffic collisions involving other vehicles. With the economy being as bad as it is, motorcycle sales may have gone down, but riders who already have their bikes have been hitting the roads on them in an effort to save money on gas.

In 2008, the number of injuries and deaths for every motor vehicle category dropped—except for in the US motorcycle accident category, that is. Washington DC, Virginia, and Maryland may have stayed counter to that trend last year—but as our DC accident lawyers reported earlier in this blog post, the figures this year are expected to be different.

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