Guest Author - Nancy Brotherton
•Overall motor vehicle occupant fatalities declined by 3.0 percent for 2006 versus 2005.
•The amount of motorcycle fatalities have increased from 4,576 (2005) to 4,810 (2006) up 234 fatalities or 5.1 percent, which accounted for 11 percent of total vehicle fatalities versus 5.0 percent in 1997.
•Motorcycle rider fatalities increased for all age group of riders except for the under 20 group, which had a decline of 13 percent from 270 (2006) to 236 (2005). Age group 20 to 29 had an increase of 10 percent from 1,172 (2006) to 1,291 (2005). Age group 30 to 39 had an increase of 2.8 percent from 975 (2005) to 1,002 (2006). Age group 40 to 49 had an increase of 7.5 percent from 1,027 (2005) to 1,104 (2006). Age group 50+ had an average increase of 3.9 percent from 1,131 (2005) to 1,175 (2006).
•Approximately 65% of motorcycle operators in States without universal helmet laws were fatally injured when not wearing helmets as compared to 13% fatally injured in States with universal helmet laws.
•Fatal motorcycle crashes by operators with a blood alcohol content of .08 or more have increased from 1,262 (2005) to 1,313 (2006) up 51 fatalities or 4.0 percent. Fatal motorcycle crashes by operators with a blood alcohol content of .01 and more have increased from 1,614 (2005) to 1,683 (2006) up 69 fatalities or 4.3 percent.
•The median BAC value for more than half of all alcohol-involved drivers and motorcycle operators was equal to or higher than twice the illegal per se level in all States and the District of Columbia.
•In 2005, where approximately three-fourths of two-vehicle motorcycle crashes involving passenger vehicles, the role of the motorcycle was the striking vehicle.
•In 2005, alcohol involvement among motorcycle operators killed was almost 2.5 times the alcohol involvement of the passenger vehicle drivers involved.
•In 2005, twenty-seven percent of motorcycle riders killed in two-vehicle crashes with a passenger vehicle were speeding as compared to 4 percent of passenger vehicle drivers.
•In 2005, of the two-vehicle crashes between motorcycles and vehicles, 91 percent occurred on non-interstate roads and half were at intersections.
•In 2005, the 20 to 29 age group has the highest rate of fatalities in two-vehicle crashes involving passenger vehicles with twenty-eight percent.
Based upon the findings it is clear that driving and alcohol is a bad combination but mixing motorcycle riding and alcohol is worse. As total vehicle fatalities are decreasing, motorcycle fatalities are increasing. The 20 to 29 age group are still leading the pack in fatalities, as was the case in previous years, but with the 40 to 49 age group following closely with ever increasing numbers.
The statistics lead one to assume that speed also is a significant factor in fatal crashes. However, they do not keep track of how many motorcycle riders had taken motorcycle safety courses or how long they had been riding the motorcycle they had crashed on. Also keep in mind that more motorcycles are being purchased each year, up significantly, but the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's report claims to have taken that into account when reporting their statistics and relating their assumptions on their findings.
Until next week, ride safe!