Distracted drivers a concern for motorcyclist

The American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) reports that the Association’s Board of Directors adopted an official position on the issue of distracted driving and inattentive vehicle operation at the Board’s July 27 meeting.

"Distracted or inattentive driving has become a major concern to the motorcycling community," said AMA Vice President of Government Relations Ed Moreland. "Far too many cases have been documented of motorcyclists being injured or killed as the result of other vehicle operators being distracted or inattentive."

As part of its official statement, the AMA supports legislation that includes enhanced penalty options for distracted and inattentive vehicle operation to be determined by the courts. Additionally, the AMA supports the prominent placement of signage that notifies roadway users that the state provides specific sanctions for those convicted of moving violations while operating a motor vehicle in a distracted or inattentive manner.

Moreland added that the AMA’s official statement recognizes that all road users — car drivers, truck drivers, motorcyclists and even bicyclists — are responsible for the safe operation of their vehicles on public roads and highways. In addition to posing a hazard to other road users and pedestrians, distracted vehicle operation can be every bit as dangerous to the operator.

The issue has become even more important in recent years as advances in mobile technology have made it easier than ever to become momentarily distracted by operating the controls of a cell phone, stereo system, a global positioning unit, or some other device.

"We’ve also seen an increase in new state-level legislation designed to address some facet of distracted or inattentive driving," Moreland said. "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."