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After increasing for 11 years straight, motorcyclist fatalities have dropped for the first time in 2009. While motorcyclists make up only 6 percent of motor vehicles on America’s roads, motorcyclist fatalities made up 13 percent of the total traffic fatalities in 2009. Many of these fatalities can be chalked up to drinking and riding. In fact, statistics show that the percentage of per se intoxicated motorcycle riders in fatal crashes (29 percent) is greater than the percentage of per se intoxicated drivers of passenger cars (23 percent), light trucks (23 percent) or large trucks (two percent). That’s why the motorcycle accident attorneys at the Law Offices of David L. Marks is urging all Virginia motorcyclists to always ride smart and sober.

Statistics show that it is extremely dangerous to drive any vehicle while impaired, especially a motorcycle, which requires a great deal of balance and coordination.

Far too many people die or suffer debilitating injuries as a result of impaired riding, particularly among middle-aged riders and baby boomers. In 2009, of all age groups, motorcycle riders between 40 to 49 years old had the highest rates of alcohol involvement in fatal motorcycle crashes.

In Virginia, it is illegal per se (in and of itself) to drive with a Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) level of .08 or higher. Still, about 1,250 motorcycle riders killed in traffic crashes across the nation in 2009 were over that limit. According to research performed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), thirty percent all motorcycle riders who died in traffic crashes in 2009 had BAC levels of .08 or higher. Research shows that even lower levels of alcohol can have a negative effect on a motorcycle rider’s ability to ride safely. In 2009, an additional 7 percent of motorcycle riders who had alcohol levels of BAC .01 to .07 also died in traffic crashes. Alcohol in any amount can have a dramatic effect on a motorcyclist’s abilities to maintain control of their bikes.

No one should ever get that late-night phone call from police telling him or her that their loved one has died due to impaired riding. People do things they regret when they’re drunk, but riding a motorcycle should never be one of them. Additional information about motorcycle safety can be found on the NHTSA website.


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