Thousands of motorcyclists are killed or catastrophically injured in Florida and around the country each year after being struck by passenger vehicles, and a recent study suggests that a psychological phenomenon known as inattentional blindness may be a factor in a great many of these accidents. The human brain is not capable of processing all the information it is exposed to, and this is especially true in driving situations where there is a lot to process and little time in which to do so. This means people often don’t notice unexpected objects even when they are moving quickly and in plain sight.

Fatal accidents in broad daylight

A team of researchers led by a psychology professor from Australian National University looked into the link between inattentional blindness and what are known as looked-but-failed-to-see (LBFTS) motorcycle accidents in 2017. They wanted to find out why motorcyclists die so often in crashes that take place in broad daylight and on quiet roads. The researchers showed 56 people photographs taken from a driver’s perspective and asked them to decide whether the driving conditions depicted were safe or hazardous. These photographs included an image that had been manipulated to include either a taxi or a motorcycle.

Results suggest inattentional blindness

A worrying 48% of the participants failed to spot either the motorcycle or the taxi, and less than 1 in 3 of those that did notice the image had been changed saw the motorcycle. The researchers say that incorporating the results of studies like this one into driver education programs could significantly reduce the number of serious accidents caused by inattentional blindness. The results of the study were published in the Journal of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society.

Establishing negligence in court

Experienced personal injury attorneys could use findings like these to establish negligence in motorcycle accident lawsuits. Civil claims are decided based on the weight of the evidence, and the results of scientific research, combined with the testimony of experts, could go a long way toward meeting this burden.