CALIFORNIA – Declining use of cell phones and texting behind the wheel may help explain why motorcycle traffic fatalities continue to decline in California and nationally. Overall fatal motorcycle accidents are down by 11% in 2010 in the state. However, there were more deaths attributed to drunk motorcyclists and improperly licensed motorcycle riders, according to a report by the California Office of Transportation and Safety.
Fatal motorcycle accidents declined from 394 to 352 deaths in 2010, according to California Traffic Safety Report Card compiled by the state Office of Transportation and Safety.
Nationally, motorcyclist traffic fatalities in the United States dropped by 16% in 2009 to 4,465 breaking a trend of 11 consecutive years of increases that more than doubled motorcyclist fatalities from 2,116 in 1997 to 5,312 in 2008, statistics show. The upward trend is likely the result of more drivers using cell phones behind the wheel.
After California laws banning handheld cell phones went into force on July 1, 2008 (California Vehicle Code [VC] §23123) the number of motorcyclists killed or injured in traffic accidents began a steep decline. The new law only permitted motorists who are at least 18 to use a “hands-free device.
Also, the state passed the Wireless Communications Device Law effective January 1, 2009 making it an infraction to write, send, or read text-based communication on an electronic wireless communications device, such as a cell phone, while driving a motor vehicle.
These two new laws have saved hundreds of lives in California and similar laws around the country have also led to declines in other states.
“Drivers who obey these new laws can be proud of what has been accomplished over the past four years,” said Attorney West Seegmiller, founder of the Seegmiller Law Firm. “Many lives have been saved and more will be saved as people continue to drive attentively.”
However, despite the good news, there was a 3% increase in deaths by motorcycle operators who were killed in California while driving with a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) of 0.08% or higher. The report shows drunk motorcycle riders accounted for 27% of 352 fatal motorcycle crashes.
Additionally, the number of motorcycle operators killed in traffic accidents who were not properly licensed grew from 32% to 33%, the report said.
The Seegmiller Law Firm has offices in Southern California and Las Vegas, Nevada with a staff knowledgeable about all matters involving personal injury victims such as those involved in a pedestrian accident. Our offices are in Orange County, San Diego County, San Bernardino County, Riverside County and Los Angeles County.
For more information call 1-855-ASK WEST or check out our law firm’s website at www.theseegmillerlawfirm.com. If you have a personal injury claim you would like to discuss call our expert attorneys call us for a free expert opinion on the matter.