by Dallas Personal Injury lawyer, Tim O’Hare
In the early morning of Saturday, July 21, the Dallas Police Department tragically lost one of its own in the line of duty. Assisting in a funeral escort, Senior Cpl. Earl “Jamie” Givens, 55, was parked on his motorcycle with lights activated, blocking the Interstate 20 ramp at Bonnie View Road when he was fatally struck by a drunk driver.
The 25-year-old driver hit Officer Givens at a high rate of speed, throwing him off his bike and tossing the motorcycle across four lanes of traffic. The accused’s blood alcohol level registered 0.19 percent — more than twice the legal limit. He has been charged with intoxication manslaughter, which is typically a second-degree felony, but it is upgraded to a first-degree felony in the death of a peace officer. If convicted, the driver could face up to life in prison.
Jamie Givens was a 32-year veteran of the Dallas Police Department and had been a motorcycle officer with the DPD for 12 years. He leaves behind his wife and two sons. “Jamie had a passion and love for riding motorcycles. He shared his time with his fellow law enforcement motorcycle officers, his fellow Celtic Warriors, and the motorcycle club he founded and led for many years,” his obituary stated.
Whether you personally ride a motorcycle or not, anytime you are operating a vehicle on the road, you are responsible to do your part to keep all motorists safe, including motorcyclists. Ninety-eight percent of motorcycle riders who are involved in accidents are injured. Of those, half of them suffer serious injuries.
In remembrance of Senior Cpl. Givens, and as a motorcycle licensee myself, I urge all drivers to remember these important safety tips and take precautions to avoid an accident that could be prevented.
Check twice for traffic when changing lanes or turning at intersections. The profile of a motorcycle is much smaller than that of a car or truck. A motorcycle’s small size not only makes it more easily hidden from the sight of other drivers, but it can also make it appear further away than it is. The smaller size of motorcycles can also make it difficult for other motorists to judge how fast a motorcycle is traveling.
Don’t follow motorcyclists at close distances. Some motorcyclists slow their speed by downshifting rather than breaking. Motorists should allow at least three to four seconds following distance, and predict when a motorcyclist in front of them may slow down. When roads are wet, motorcycles can have a difficult time stopping quickly and should be allowed more space from other motorists.
Be aware that a motorcyclist may often change positions in a lane. Motorcycles do not respond to road hazards, such as debris and potholes as well as other vehicles do. Because of this, a motorcyclist might often be seen changing his or her position within a lane, to avoid potential hazards. Motorcyclists may also change positions in a lane to be seen more easily by other drivers.
For more information on sharing the road with motorcyclists, read this list of tips from the Motorcycle Safety Foundation.
If you have been seriously injured or lost a family member in a motorcycle accident or a drunk driving accident, contact the experienced Dallas – Ft. Worth car accident injury lawyers at The Law Offices of Tim O’Hare. Tim O’Hare is a motorcyclist and has had his motorcycle license for most of his adult life.
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