Last Updated: 2/22/2024

Riding a motorcycle while under the influence of alcohol (or drugs) is one of the most dangerous things that a motorcyclist can do. If you’re a motorcyclist in Iowa, here are some motorcycle and drinking and driving facts you need to know.

Alcohol Impairs Judgment and Slows Response Time

Most people know that drinking can slow response time and impair judgment. The Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) presents several theories about alcohol's effects on driving ability and then presents statistics to back them up.

For example, one theory is that a blood alcohol concentration between .01 and .04 starts to lessen judgment, makes a rider less critical of his own actions, and slows reaction time. It then goes onto present statistics from other studies indicating that any alcohol in the body raises the risk of an accident by five times.

The greater the BAC, the more the rider's reaction time slows, judgment lessens, and reasoning declines. A rider with a BAC above the .08 legal limit may have judgment and reasoning that's severely hampered and "cannot complete common simple tasks without error," according to the MSF.

As such, attempting to operate a motorcycle after even a single drink can be dangerous.

Alcohol Increases the Likelihood of a Crash

According to AAA, young drivers between the ages of 16 to 19 with a BAC of .02 to .05 are seven times more likely to be involved in a crash than a driver of any age who is sober. What’s more, statistics don’t lie: 27 percent of motorcyclists involved in fatal crashes in 2012 had a BAC of .08 percent or more, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). In total, 1,335 fatally injured motorcyclists had a BAC of at least .08 and another 360 had a BAC of .01 to .07.

You Can Protect Yourself

The Motorcycle Safety Foundation uses the acronym SEE to help motorcyclists stay safe.

  • S: Searching for hazards
  • E: Evaluating hazards
  • E: Executing actions to maintain safety

When you're impaired, it reduces your ability to perform these tasks. So always ride sober and never ride without a helmet.

You Have the Right to File a Lawsuit if Injured by an Impaired Driver

While we can control our own actions and abstain from alcohol before riding, we cannot control others' actions. The SEE acronym can help you remember important tasks to avoid an accident, but if a drunk driver caused your accident in Iowa, you have the right to take legal action. At Walker, Billingsley & Bair, our personal injury and motorcycle accident attorneys can help you with your case. Call us at (888) 435-9886 to set up a consultation.

Corey Walker
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With over 28 years legal experience, Corey has been recognized for his work as an injury attorney.