A recent report released by the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) finds that no progress was made in reducing motorcyclist deaths in 2011. Based upon preliminary data from 50 states and the District of Columbia, GHSA projects that motorcycle fatalities remained at about 4,500 in 2011, the same level as 2010. Meanwhile, earlier this month, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) projected that overall motor vehicle fatalities declined 1.7 percent in 2011, reaching their lowest level since 1949. Motorcycle deaths remain one of the few areas in highway safety where progress is not being made.
GHSA Chairman, Troy Costales, said “It is disappointing that we are not making progress in motorcycle safety, particularly as fatalities involving other motorists continue to decline. As the study notes, the strengthening economy, high gas prices, and the lack of all-rider helmet laws leave me concerned about the final numbers for 2011 and 2012. Every motorcyclist deserves to arrive at their destination safely. These fatality figures represent real people – they’re family, friends and neighbors.”
In order to reduce motorcycle injuries and fatalities, the GHSA and NHTSA recommend implementation of the following strategies:
- Increase helmet use: Helmets are proven to be 37 percent effective at preventing fatal injuries to motorcycle operators and 41 percent effective for passengers. NHTSA estimates that helmets saved 1,829 motorcyclists’ lives in 2008 and another 822 of the unhelmeted motorcyclists who died in that year would have survived had they worn helmets.
- Reduce alcohol impairment: In 2010, 29 percent of fatally injured riders had a blood alcohol concentration at or above the legal limit of .08, the highest of all motorists.
- Reduce speeding: According to the most recent data, 35 percent of motorcycle riders involved in fatal crashes were speeding, and more than half did not involve another vehicle.
- Provide motorcycle operator training to all who need or seek it: While all states currently offer training programs, some courses may not be provided at locations and times convenient for riders.
- Encourage all drivers to share the road with motorcyclists: According to NHTSA, when motorcycles crash with other vehicles, the latter usually violates the motorcyclist’s right of way. Many states conduct “share the road” campaigns to increase awareness of motorcycles.
If you are involved in a motorcycle or an auto accident in which you, or a family member, are injured by the negligence or carelessness of another person, you should talk to a lawyer about your rights. The lawyers at Liever, Hyman & Potter, P.C. have been helping injured people in Reading, Pottsville and throughout Pennsylvania obtain fair compensation for their injuries caused by auto accidents for over 50 years.