Florida: The Motorcycle Accident State
Florida’s panhandle and especially Pensacola has the best of both worlds with its beautiful beaches and warm sunny weather. Florida tops the list as the 2nd most visited state by tourists, second only to California. We are also one of the fastest growing states in the country with almost 1,000 people a day moving in according to the most recent census data. With this growth of new residents, wonderful weather and as a destination for tourists, Florida motorcycle accidents rank among the highest in the nation. There was a total of 344,170 traffic accidents in Florida in 2014, a 9% increase from the previous year, and unfortunately 2015 accident count is not showing any decline.
Dangers of Head-On Collisions
Motorcycle accidents can occur in several different ways, the most common being side and head-on collisions. Head-on collisions are by far the most dangerous types of accidents and occur when the front of one vehicle strikes into the front end of another vehicle. These accidents tend to occur when both vehicles are in motion and often at a high rate of speed compounded by the forces of objects moving towards each other. Consequently, the catastrophic injuries that are produced, enhanced by the lack of protection one has on a motorcycle, often times result in fatalities to the victims. The Department of Transportation estimated that 18% of crashes outside of intersections involve head-on collisions. Though they make up only 2% of total crashes, they have the highest fatality rate at 10%.
New Automobile Technology
Many new cars are being equipped with accident reducing technology such as automatic braking and warning systems to reduce the risk of head-on collision and other types of crashes. These systems could warn a driver of a potential accident occurring with a motorcycle, but the technology is limited to only a few vehicle manufacturers. Cars and trucks are being made safer with crumple zones, better seatbelt protection, front and side airbags and impact absorbing bumpers. These designs are intended to absorb the impact of an accident, but motorcyclists are still in just as much danger as ever when involved in a crash. Even the best technology, coupled with all of these additional safety features, may provide additional protection to drivers, but motorcycle victims when involved in a crash face life-altering injuries and even death.
The majority of head-on collisions occur because of another driver’s negligence. If the negligent party causes an accident, the victims have the right to hold that party responsible for their actions and receive fair and just compensation for their injuries and loss.
Common Causes of Head-on Collisions
There are many reasons why head-on crashes occur. The following are a few examples of the more common causes of these horrific crashes:
Drunk Drivers — According to the Insurance Information Institute Report accidents caused by drunk or impaired drivers accounts for 30% of all accidents resulting in a fatality. Drivers under the influence of alcohol and drugs are physically impaired causing them to swerve and leave their designated lane. Often-times they may cross over the center line and collide with an oncoming car, truck or motorcycle. Drunk drivers may go down a one-way street in the wrong direction causing a head-on collision. Often-times their vision is impaired to such an extent that a motorcycle is just not seen.
Driving Tired— Many accidents occur because the driver is fatigued and too tired to drive. This happens to many truck and semi-truck drivers spending long hours on our highways and roads. This lack of concentration or lapse in judgement, causes many accidents and if the driver falls asleep at the wheel, the results can be catastrophic. Drivers who fall asleep at the wheel often-times cross lanes and sometimes medians, and cause head-on collisions resulting in death and dismemberment.
Distracted Driving — With today’s modern technology, almost everyone has a smart phone, tablet or electronic device. Texting has become the most common form of distracted driving. The average text message takes over 5 seconds to complete and attention to text messaging while driving is very dangerous. Vehicles traveling at 55 mph would travel the length of a football field in that length of time and if the driver was giving his texts his full attention, that distance would be covered during those 5 seconds without looking at the road. In 2014 alone, 3,179 people were killed, and another 431,000 people were injured in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers. Distracted drivers, many of whom are texting, sometimes leave their lanes causing accidents and without the aid of medians, can swerve into oncoming traffic which often-times results in head-on collisions.
Improper Passing — Every driver should be aware of Florida traffic laws, and that you are not supposed to pass another vehicle when there is a double yellow line. Impatient, or reckless drivers sometimes feel they have enough time or are experienced enough to pass cars on a two-lane highway or road without showing due caution. All too often, the passing driver misjudges the distance of oncoming cars in the passing lane and doesn’t have enough time to brake or get back into their lane in time to avoid a head-on collision. Many accidents are caused because the driver is passing a vehicle but fails to realize a car, truck or motorcycle is pulling out of a side street or driveway, turning left into the on-coming passing vehicle.
Rural Roads — According to statistics, almost 50% of all head-on collisions occur on rural two lane roads. These roads are often narrow and winding and in many cases have hills that can make it difficult to see oncoming traffic. Additionally, rural settings don’t typically have patrolling law enforcement, so many drivers travel at high rates of speed and take chances they would not ordinarily take if police were present. These dangerous conditions can lead to cars straying into opposite lanes causing accidents with oncoming traffic.
Road hazards — Construction zones, road surfaces, uneven lanes, un-marked lanes, objects in the road, and other road hazards can cause a driver to quickly swerve or lose control of their car, truck or motorcycle. Motorcycles are especially vulnerable to these types of hazards and can cause serious accidents and injuries if the cyclists don’t use extreme caution when encountering these types of obstacles.
Motorcycle Accidents – Pensacola Personal Injury Attorney
Artie Shimek is an experienced motorcycle accident attorney representing injured victims and their families for over 28 years. Shimek Law is Pensacola’s greatest defender of accident victim’s rights to fair and just compensation. If you or a loved one have been injured in an accident involving a motorcycle, car, truck, semi-truck, bicycle or pedestrian accident, give Artie and his team a call.
Our consultations are free and there are no fees or costs unless we win money for you. Or visit us on our website at shimeklaw.com.