In Texas, the penalties for driving under the influence (DUI) and impaired driving for motorcyclists is the same as it is for other motor vehicle operators. Texas does have a strict DUI law with very harsh penalties if someone is convicted of and found guilty of this offense.
Even first-time offenders can face up to a $2,000 fine, with up to 180 days imprisonment. In addition, first-time offenders can have their driving privileges revoked for a period ranging from 90 days up to one year.
Aside from these punishments, there can also be other “side-effects” of someone operating a motorcycle while under the influence. If a crash caused injuries to others, the injured party could sue the motorcyclist with help from their personal injury lawyer. Additionally, if another person was killed during the accident, the motorcyclist could be facing an involuntary manslaughter charge.
How Many Motorcycles Are on the Road in Texas?
According to data provided by The Statistics Portal, in 2016 there was a total of 374, 919 motorcycles registered in Texas.1 The number of motorcycles on the road has grown significantly over the past decade. Part of the reason for this increase is due to increased fuel prices and the better mileage motorcycles offer. In addition, the costs to purchase a motorcycle are much less compared to buying a vehicle.
Why Is Impaired/Drunk Driving on a Motorcycle More Dangerous Than a Motor Vehicle?
Any type of impaired/drunk driving is against the law. What makes operating a motorcycle even more dangerous than driving a car is there is relatively nothing to protect the driver. Essentially, the motorcycle and the motorcyclist become dangerous projectiles that can injure others should an accident occur.
One of the major causes of accidents while under the influence is a loss of control over the motorcycle. Impairment causes motor functions to slow, which, in turn, makes it much harder for the motorcyclist to balance and maintain control over the bike.
Alcohol-Related Motorcycle Crash Data
While Texas does not collect this type of data, the NHTSA and IIHS do for the entire country. According to the NHTSA, in 2015 there were 4,684 motorcyclists killed during an accident with 1,285 impaired by alcohol with a BAC of 0.08 or higher, and another 337 fatal injuries with a BAC of 0.07 or lower.2
In 2016, according to the IIHS, 26% of all motorcycle accidents were a result of impaired and drunk driving. There was a total of 688 deaths from alcohol-related crashes, which accounted for 37% of all motorcycle accident deaths.3
What to Do if You Are Injured by a Drunk Motorcyclist
If you are injured as a result of a motorcyclist driving while impaired or drunk, you have certain legal rights. One option is to sue the motorcyclist and his or her insurance company for your personal injuries with help from a motorcycle accident attorney. These could include loss of income from your job, payment of all current and future medical treatment, and other monetary compensation as allowed by law.
To find out your legal rights and what you can do to recover damages from a drunk motorcyclist, please contact Schechter, Shaffer & Harris, L.L.P., Accident & Injury Lawyers at 713-364-0723 for a free consultation today!