Alabama lawmakers and police officers have begun working together to crack down on dangerous driving habits, and in the latest series of traffic safety regulation updates, a bill aiming to increase the safety of motorcyclists has come one step closer to being an official state law.
According to Al.com, a motorcycle safety bill sponsored by Rep. Phillip Pettus, R-Killen, has just passed in the House and has been approved by the Senate Transportation and Energy Committee. This bill would require drivers to take a special skills test to obtain a motorcycle license, even if they already hold a regular driver’s license.
Currently, Alabama doesn’t require drivers to take a road test for a motorcyclist’s license if the drivers already have a regular license, but they must pass a written test (which costs $5) for the special license.
Al.com has noted that motorcyclists are actually in favor of the bill because it increases safety on the road.
This bill isn’t the only case of law enforcement officials aiming to increase road safety for drivers in Alabama, particularly drivers in smaller vehicles. In response to a sudden spike in fatal car accidents involving semi-trucks, the Montgomery Police force recently began increasing the safety regulations of commercial truck drivers, most notably focusing on the maximum number of hours that drivers can spend on the road each day.
National data suggests that when there are crashes involving big commercial trucks and smaller passenger cars, the majority of the country’s 37,000 deaths in car accidents typically involve drivers and passengers in smaller cars.
However, as the Alabama Trucking Association has been quick to note, the drivers in smaller cars tend to be responsible for these accidents. In 72% of all accidents involving a car and commercial truck, the drivers in smaller cars usually cause the accidents by driving recklessly.
Motorcyclists may not be the main culprits of reckless driving incidents, but it’s hard to ignore the fact that they are injured more often in car crashes — and by not requiring a special test for these drivers, one can argue that Alabama hasn’t been protecting its drivers (and passengers) as much as it should be.
The bill hasn’t yet passed through Alabama’s legislature completely, but it seems that the general consensus of the bill is overwhelmingly supportive.