Drunk Driving and Motorcycles: A Deadly Combination

Drunk Driving Motorcycles

Those who ride motorcycles understand firsthand the freedom that comes with riding on the open road. Motorcycle riders also understand that enjoying these experiences comes with a great deal of responsibility as well. In order for drivers and riders to coexist peacefully on the road, both must exercise good judgment when behind the wheel. Sadly, thousands of drivers and riders still operate their vehicles while impaired each year, causing devastating roadway accidents resulting in catastrophic injuries and needless deaths. In fact, drunk driving causes one out of three fatal motorcycle accidents across the country.

Effects of Alcohol

After drinking as few as two drinks, individuals begin to experience a decline in visual function and a decline in their ability to perform two tasks at the same time. After three drinks, individuals will have difficulty steering, reduced coordination, and a reduced response to emergency driving situations. After four drinks, that person loses speed control, suffers from impaired perception, reduced information processing capability, and difficulty concentrating. After five drinks, they have a reduced ability to maintain lane position and brake appropriately. After consuming six or more alcoholic drinks, they experience substantial impairment in vehicle control, attention to driving, and visual information processing.

While people with a higher blood alcohol concentration pose the greatest risk of injuring themselves or other motorists in a motor vehicle accident, even one drink can impair a driver or motorcyclist and can cause an auto accident.

Impaired Motorcyclists

Motorcyclists are accustomed to exercising extra caution behind the wheel. Operating a motorcycle requires the rider’s attention to always be focused on the road and surroundings, as anyone on a bike is without the physical protections a car or truck provides its occupants. When motorcyclists choose to get behind the wheel while impaired, they are making the same reckless choice as the drunk driver of a car or truck. The Insurance Information Institute reported that in 27% of fatal drunk driving-related motorcycle accidents, the motorcyclist had a BAC rate higher than .08% – and 35% had a BAC of at least .01%. While some riders may think that since motorcycles are not as large as cars or trucks that roadway accident damages will be minimal, this could not be farther from the truth. Regardless of size or design, an impaired driver can turn any vehicle into a deadly weapon. Motorcyclists driving under the influence are just as likely to lose control of their bikes as a driver of a car or truck, which can cause a direct collision with another vehicle and cause other vehicles to crash while attempting to avoid your rogue motorcycle.

Impaired Drivers

It is not new information that drivers shouldn’t get behind the wheel of passenger vehicles when impaired. Ironically, even though the majority of – if not all – drivers are aware of the dangers of drinking and driving, each year thousands lose their lives to drunk drivers. Because bikers are 29 times more likely to die in an auto collision than motor vehicle occupants, it is crucial that all drivers take the responsibility of operating their vehicles seriously.

Motorcycle Accident Dangers

Motorcycles offer very little protection when a collision occurs, which can leave a rider with life-threatening injuries even in minor accidents. According to the Texas Department of Transportation, in 2019 in Texas, 412 motorcyclists lost their lives and another 1,812 were seriously injured in roadway crashes.

The severity of motorcycle accident injuries is often catastrophic. In fact, a motorcycle accident even at a low-speed can push a bike onto its side and severely injure the driver and/or a passenger. Common motorcycle injuries include:

  • Broken bones
  • Burns
  • Facial fractures
  • Limb amputations
  • Paralysis
  • Quadriplegia
  • Road rash
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)

A Deadly Combination

The reason drunk driving of any kind of vehicle is so dangerous is the debilitating effects it has on a person’s ability to focus, stay alert, and react appropriately when needed. A sober driver should always remain alert for other vehicles – particularly those that may fall into their vehicle’s blind spots and be hard to see such as a motorcycle. If that same driver is impaired, they are less likely to remain focused and practice proper driving techniques, such as looking at all mirrors and using turn signals before changing lanes or making a turn. Likewise, if a motorcyclist is also impaired, they are less likely to be focused on their surroundings, which could be a drunk driver moving into their lane. Not only will both drivers be unable to react timely, but they are also more likely to lose control of their vehicles, doubling down on the potential damages.

Lubbock Drunk Driving Motorcycle Accident Attorneys

Drivers can have fun and remain responsible, and that begins with exercising good judgment and not operating a vehicle after drinking. Drunk driving is dangerous, destructive, and can alter a person’s life in a split second – regardless of what vehicle the impaired driver is operating. If you or a loved one was seriously injured or killed in a drunk driving accident, you may be entitled to financial compensation in a civil lawsuit. There is limited time to act in Texas following a motor vehicle accident, so don’t delay in contacting us today for your free case consultation.