States that have enacted moderate to strong cell phone and texting bans have motorcycle fatality rates that are as much as 11% lower that states with no bans, reports the Insurance Journal.
Researchers from Florida Atlantic University and the University of Miami emphasized that it isn't clear that distracted driving laws reduce the overall number of traffic fatalities, but they said the laws are having a life-saving impact among motorcycle riders.
Motorcyclists account for a much higher proportion of traffic fatalities relative to the share of motorcycles among all motor vehicles and vehicle miles driven in the U.S., according to the survey.
To explore whether or not distracted driving laws are having an impact on fatality rates, the study's authors obtained annual data from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System on total and motorcycle-specific traffic fatalities for 50 states over a 10-year period (2005-2015). Those data were then merged with state-specific characteristics, texting/handheld device laws, as well as other traffic policies to estimate the effectiveness of strong, moderate, and weak bans compared to no bans, reports the Insurance Journal.
The findings indicate that motorcyclists are more vulnerable to being a victim of distracted driving by another driver. Because they are at a higher risk, motorcyclists could benefit from strong distracted driving regulations. This result is driven mostly by multiple-vehicle crashes (such as a car hitting a motorcycle) as opposed to single-vehicle crashes.
Every day approximately nine people in the U.S. are killed and another 1,000 are injured in traffic crashes involving a distracted driver, according to researchers.
While automobile fatality rates have been reduced, motorcycle fatality rates have not declined in recent years. The authors hope the research facilitates a more informed dialogue among key stakeholders including legislators about distracted driving and traffic safety, according to the report.