Friday, 23 April 2010

Nationwide Motorcycle Accident Fatalities Drop by 10%

Preliminary data from the Governors’ Highway Safety Association suggests that for the first time in 11 years, there had been a drop in motorcycle crash fatality rates nationwide.

The GHSA news release uses preliminary crash data from all 50 states and the District of Columbia to arrive at those conclusions. The data is for the first nine months of 2009, but according to the GHSA, those numbers are low enough to conclude that 2009 will be the first year in 11 years, that there has been a decline in these rates.

The largest decline has been in California. The state has a projected decline of 29% in motorcycle crash fatality rates. In 2009, there were 321 motorcycle crash deaths in California, down from 454 fatalities the previous year. That is a substantial drop, but California motorcycle accident lawyers believe it may not be time to begin celebrating yet.

The GHSA says that much of the decline can be attributed to the recession. There has been a decline in motorcycling for leisure, and that has contributed to a drop in fatalities. Besides, the number of middle-aged beginner motorcycle riders has also dropped as a result of the economic downturn. The impact of the economic downturn on motorcycle crash fatality rates will only be confirmed over the next two years, when new crash data comes out.

Besides economic factors, the usual factors, including promotion of motorcycle safety training courses and helmet use, have also been mentioned as possible factors for the decline.

According to the GHSA, states need to continue with their motorcycle crash prevention efforts to maintain these low rates. The most important thing that states can do to reduce the number of motorcycle crash fatalities, is to encourage and promote helmet use. States most also do more to prevent speeding-related motorcycle accidents. Approximately 35% of all motorcycle crash fatalities in 2009 were related to speeding. The GHSA also wants more states to encourage beginner riders to undertake safety training programs before they begin riding. The agency is also asking state transportation officials to focus harder on reducing drunk driving among motorcyclists.

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