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Motorcycle accidents often caused by motorists' failure to yield

pMotorcycleRider_Dollarphotoclub_818740-150x150.jpgThe National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that motorists' failure to yield to motorcycles is a major issue. In 35 percent of cases involving a motorcycle and another vehicle, drivers did not yield right-of-way to motorcyclists. In comparison, motorcyclists failed to yield in only 4 percent of cases. As a motorcycle accident attorney in Tennessee might note, these statistics indicate that properly yielding to motorcycles may have prevented these accidents.

The disproportionate number of motorcycle deaths

One of the primary reasons the NHTSA is studying fatal motorcycle accidents is that they are disproportionate. According to the agency, motorcycles comprised less than 3 percent of registered vehicles in 2005. Motorcycle rider fatalities, however, made up 10.5 percent of that year's overall traffic fatalities. According to these figures, motorcyclists involved in accidents were nearly 40 times more likely to die as a result of the crash.

The NHTSA's investigations into this issue show that more than half of motorcycle deaths are the result of collisions with other vehicles. As such, addressing motorists' failure to yield to motorcyclists may significantly reduce these accidents.

Right-of-way laws in Tennessee

The Tennessee Motorcycle Operator Manual echoes the findings of the NHTSA. The manual states that motorcycle accidents are often the result of a driver invading a motorcyclist's right-of-way. Motor vehicle drivers may be found to have failed to yield if they cause accidents while doing any of the following:

  • Turning left in front of the motorcycle
  • Merging into the motorcycle's lane
  • Driving through a stop sign

According to the manual, accidents caused by drivers who failed to yield often occur in intersections.

The high cost of motorcycle fatalities

Economic factors are another reason for investigating and reducing motorcycle fatalities. All motor vehicle crashes come with high costs, as any motorcycle accident attorney in Tennessee would note. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention explains that in one year alone, Tennessee accidents resulted in death costs of $1.15 billion.

Tennessee's motorcycle fatalities contributed $118 million to this figure. A big part of this high number is due to the fact that most motorcyclists are young. When a young person dies in a traffic accident, that person's work loss costs are included in the overall expense of the crash. As such, the young age of motorcyclists, coupled with the disproportionate fatality rates in motorcycle accidents, often results in high work loss costs.

Motorcyclists' families have rights

When a motorcyclist is killed because a motor vehicle driver failed to follow right-of-way laws, wrongful death litigation may be a possibility. Such lawsuits may award damages to the victim's family for financial losses, as well as emotional trauma. Those who wish to pursue this option may wish to discuss their cases with a motorcycle accident attorney in Tennessee.

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