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Motorcycle accident deaths increase 3rd year in a row

Motorcycle rider fatalities increased for the third consecutive year in 2012, up more than 7% over 2011, while motorcyclist injuries rose 15% to 93,000. A shocking 42% of the reported fatalities involved unhelmeted motorcyclists. These figures were released by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) in its Quick Facts 2012 report, which was released last month.

A study released by the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) reported that a better economy and higher gas prices mean more motorcycle riders on the road and fewer states with helmet laws means more fatalities. The Governors study mentioned several reasons for the high motorcyclist fatality rate, which accounted for about 14% of all traffic fatalities, including lack of helmet laws, alcohol use and speeding.

The NHTSA reported that motorcyclist fatalities accounted for 15% of the total fatalities for the year. There were 10 times as many unhelmeted motorcyclist fatalities in states without universal helmet laws in 2012, and 1,390 of the 2012 fatalities included an alcohol-impaired motorcyclist.

According to the GHSA, 70% of the motorcyclist fatalities occurred in the six-month period April through September. Many states often have relatively little motorcycle travel in the winter months due to snow, ice, rain and cold weather. The warmer months bring out a much higher percentage of motorcycle riders.

Although helmets are by far the most effective method of preventing motorcyclist fatalities and serious injuries, many states till do not require them. Studies by the GHSA show that helmets are 37% effective in preventing injuries to motorcycle operators and 41% for passengers. The NHTSA estimates that 706 of the unhelmeted motorists who died in 2010 crashed would have lived if they had been wearing helmets.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), with motorcycle ownership at an all-time high, motorcycle-related deaths and traumatic brain injuries are expected to remain at high levels unless more effective protective measure are enacted. They stated that helmets are the only safety measure proven to save lives, and the universal helmet law (one that covers all motorcycle riders) is demonstrated to be the best way to ensure helmet use.

The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) reported that despite the effectiveness of motorcycle helmet legislation, many states have repealed these laws during the last decade.

Pennsylvania Personal Injury Lawyer, Julia Munley, says helmet use can prevent deaths.

Wearing helmets that meet the Department of Transportation standard is an important and very effective means of reducing the number of riders who die or are injured in motorcycle crashes. The NHTSA estimated that helmets saved the lives of 1544 motorcycle riders in 2010 alone. Studies have shown that helmets can reduce the risk of head injury by 69%, so why aren’t they required in all states?

If you have been injured in a motorcycle accident, the personal injury lawyers at Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys can help. Visit for more information.

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