In a report by the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) overall motor vehicle deaths dropped to their lowest level since 1949. However there was little progress in reducing deaths for motorcyclist the report said. Motorcycle deaths remained at 4,500 in 2011 about the same as in 2010. The report classified motorcycles as any two or three wheeled vehicle in the study.
The group said that raising prices at the pump may be leading to more people deciding to use motorcycles as a more economical means of transportation. They also used the data to raise the issue of the use of mandatory helmet laws, which are under attack in at least five states.
There is a decrease in states with universal helmet laws. Only 19 states currently require all riders to wear helmets, down from 26 in 1997. Earlier this year, Michigan repealed its universal helmet law, while similar legislation has been introduced in five other states. No state has enacted a universal helmet law since Louisiana reinstated its requirement in 2004.
To continue reducing injuries and deaths the report urges states to focus their efforts on motorcycle safety:
- Increase Helmet Use: Helmets are proven to be 37 percent effective at preventing fatal injuries to motorcycle operators and passengers. Helmet laws are the only motorcycle safety strategy to receive a five-star effectiveness rating in NHTSA’s “Countermeasures that Work” guidebook for states. Alarmingly, helmet use declined dramatically in 2010 and 30 states still lack helmet laws for all riders.
- Reduce Alcohol Impairment: States should conduct high visible drunk driving enforcement that includes motorcyclists as well as implement training efforts to help police identify drunken motorcyclists.
- Reduce Speeding: According to the most recent data, 35 percent of motorcycle riders involved in fatal crashes were speeding. More than half of speed-related fatal motorcycle crashes did not involve another vehicle.
- Provide Motorcycle Operator…