Inattentional blindness often contributes to motorcycle accidents

On Behalf of | Jun 21, 2019 | Firm News

Motorcycle accidents are all too common in the St. Louis area. If you or a loved one suffered injuries in such an event or you lost a loved one in a motorcycle crash, you probably want answers as to why it happened and want to know if compensation may be available to you. According to researchers, inattentional blindness often contributes to these accidents, but it is not something many people know about.

Inattentional blindness is the ability to be looking at something but still not see it. Confused? Most people would be.

How inattentional blindness works

On any given day, the human brain takes in more information than it can process. So, it filters out what it feels is unimportant. This allows people to really focus on the things that they need to — in theory.

Sometimes, the brain messes up and filters out information that is actually important. For example, a driver may see a motorcyclist coming and still turn in front of him or her, causing an accident. When looking at the motorcyclist, you would think that the driver would stop, but with all of the sensory information the driver’s brain was taking in at the time, seeing the motorcyclist filtered out so the driver thought it was safe to turn.

The research

Researchers at the Australian National University asked 56 adults to take part in a road safety study. Each participant had to look at pictures and decide which showed safe or unsafe driving environments from the perspective of a driver. In one photo, researchers added a motorcycle or other unexpected object. About half of the study participants failed to see this new object. For most of those who didn’t see the object, it was the motorcycle that they missed.

The study pool may not have been very big, but the results are quite clear. Drivers are not motorcycle-aware. The brain does not rank motorcyclists very high on its priority list.

Is inattentional blindness an acceptable excuse to escape liability?

No. Look-but-failed-to-see accidents that result from inattentional blindness are common, and the drivers behind them can be held accountable for their victim’s or — in the event of fatality — their victim’s surviving family members’ losses. Those who believe that negligence contributed to their motorcycle accident-related damages can seek assistance in pursuing compensation through legal means.