Motorcycle and Alcohol Impairment Facts

According to motorcycle accident statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in 2012, there were 2,030 people killed in single-vehicle motorcycle accidents. Forty-three percent of these motorcyclists were under the influence of alcohol with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or higher at the time of the wreck.

Twenty-seven percent of motorcyclists involved in fatal crashes had a BAC of .08 or higher. This is compared to 23 percent of passenger car drivers involved in fatal accidents, 22 percent of light truck drivers, and two percent of large truck drivers.

Overall, there were 1,335 motorcycle riders who died in traffic accidents in 2012 and had a BAC of .08 or higher. There were another 360 fatally injured riders with a BAC of between .01 and .07.

How Drunk Motorcycling Can Increase Your Risk of an Accident 

Riders and other motorists are legally intoxicated if BAC is at .08 or higher, but even a BAC lower than.08 affects riders’ and drivers’ ability to ride safely. At this lower BAC, the motorcyclist’s reaction time may start to slow. It can also affect the rider’s reasoning and thinking abilities, which can affect judgment.

These effects of alcohol can reduce your ability to look for risks that might cause an accident, like a stoplight indicating it’s not safe to pass through an intersection. With impaired judgment, some riders may choose to ride fast or take chances. And riders may be unable to take emergency maneuvers in time to avoid a hazard, like another car that is coming to a stop.

Can I file an accident claim if I was under the influence of alcohol? 

Motorcyclists riding under the influence of alcohol and who are in an accident are often to blame for that accident. As noted above, alcohol impairs your ability to ride safely. However, there may be cases where an impaired motorcyclist did not actually cause the wreck.

In this case, the injured rider may be able to pursue a claim for compensation against the driver who did cause the wreck. Still, the motorcyclist’s impairment may be a significant issue when filing the claim or lawsuit. The defendant may present evidence that the rider was impaired at the time of the wreck, which can lead the insurer or court to declare him or her comparatively negligent.

Under Florida law, a person may still recover compensation if not 100 percent at fault. But the motorcyclist’s damage recovery reduces by the rider’s percentage of fault. If an impaired rider is 50 percent liable and suffered $10,000 in damages, he or she would only recover $5,000.

If you were in a motorcycle accident, speak to an attorney at Chalik and Chalik. Call 855-599-0269 or fill out our contact form to schedule your consultation.