A new study by Florida Atlantic University and the University of Miami finds that distracted driving laws have greatly reduced the rate of fatalities for motorcyclists.
Published in Social Science & Medicine, the study’s findings show that states with moderate to strong bans have motorcycle fatality rates that differ by as much as 11 percent compared to states with no bans.
“In the case of motorcycles, these laws seem to be effective,” said Study Co-Author Gulcin Gumus, Ph.D., Associate Professor in Health Administration in the Department of Management Programs at FAU’s College of Business. “While it’s not clear that these laws have had an impact on reducing the overall number of traffic fatalities, when we focus specifically on motorcycles, we find that these laws are having a major impact in reducing deaths among motorcycle riders.”
Data was obtained from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System on total and motorcycle-specific traffic fatalities for all 50 states between 2005-2015. This data was combined 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.
The study’s findings indicate that motorcyclists are at elevated risk of being a victim of distracted driving and thus could greatly benefit from distracted driving laws. This result is driven mainly by multiple-vehicle crashes (e.g., car hitting motorcycle), rather than single-vehicle crashes.