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How big a problem are distracted drivers for motorcyclists?

April is National Distracted Driving Month and so it's a good time to discuss how even a temporary distraction can cause a lifetime of suffering. People often forget that motorcycles are much less forgiving than cars and other vehicles in accidents. Due to their relatively small size and weight, there's no such thing as a simple "fender bender" when a car, truck or SUV strikes a motorcycle.

In fact, even in relatively minor motorcycle accidents victims may still receive injuries that force them to miss work for long periods of time. An unlucky few of those victims will also require some form of ongoing medical treatments to tend to their head or spinal cord injuries.

What makes this problem so frustrating is that many causes of distracted driving can be easily prevented. Drivers of other vehicles who turn off their cellphones completely or refrain from texting while driving can significantly reduce their risk of harming motorcyclists. That's because according to the National Safety Council, over 50 percent of all fatal motorcycle wrecks involve some other vehicle; usually a car or a truck.

Just because an electronic device may be "hands-free" doesn't automatically prevent it from becoming a distraction. According to one expert with the Motorcycle Safety Foundation, distraction occurs inside the mind of a driver. In other words, even if motorists are looking at the road while speaking to a hands-free cellphone, they still may not be assessing their situations properly with regards to nearby motorcyclists.

Injured North Carolina motorcyclists need to know that state laws enable them to take legal action against drivers who cause preventable accidents. Injured motorcyclists can file civil lawsuits seeking compensation for lost wages and medical expenses against those distracted motorists. If successful, those injured motorcyclists could recover their costs from those individuals who are responsible for their injuries.

Source: Motorcycle Safety Foundation, "April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month The MSF Encourages Drivers to Expect to See Motorcyclists," April. 09, 2015

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