AMA against distracted driving

Distractions and inattention factor in 80% of crashes

By Motorcycle.Com Staff, Aug. 07, 2009
The American Motorcyclist Association is taking an official stand against distracted driving.

At a meeting July 27, the AMA’s board of directors adopted an official position supporting stronger penalties for distracted or inattentive vehicle operation.

The AMA also supports the prominent placing of signs notifying road travelers of a state’s sanctions for those convicted of moving violations while driving in a distracted or inattentive manner.

“Distracted or inattentive driving has become a major concern to the motorcycling community,” says Ed Moreland, AMA vice president of government relations. “Far too many cases have been documented of motorcyclists being injured or killed as the result of other vehicle operators being distracted or inattentive.”

According to a report by the National Highway Safety Administration and the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute, driver inattention is the leading factor in most crashes and near-crashes. The report cites 80% of crashes and 65% of near-crashes involve some form of driver inattention within three seconds before the event.

Modern technologies such as cell phones and global positioning systems have been the targets of legislation in some jurisdictions, other causes such as drowsiness may cause distraction or inattention.

 “We’ve also seen an increase in new state-level legislation designed to address some facet of distracted or inattentive driving,” says Moreland. “Most of the bills are well-intentioned. However, almost all focus on only one or a few in-vehicle behaviors, such as talking on a cell phone or text messaging, rather than addressing the main issue. This new position statement gives our staff the guidance it needs to help shape future legislation for the benefit of all road users, particularly motorcyclists.”

The AMA’s position isn’t focused on just drivers. Moreland says the AMA’s official statement acknowledges that all road users, including drivers, motorcyclists and bicyclists, are responsible for highway safety.