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U.S. Motorcycle Fatalities Increased by 7.1% in 2012

In 2012, for the third year in a row, motorcycle fatality rates increased in the United States. According to the 2012 Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS), data compiled by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) showed 4,957 motorcyclists and passengers were killed in traffic crashes last year compared to 4,630 in 2011.

Total injury rates for motorcyclists rose also, posting a significant 15% increase from 81,000 people in 2011 to 93,000.

In 2012 there was a 3.3% increase over 2011 in overall traffic fatalities, according to the FARS data, for a total of 33,561 deaths in the U.S. including motorcycles, cars, trucks, pedestrians and bicyclists.

Overall traffic injuries in 2012 increased 6.5% to 2,362,000. Motorcyclists accounted for 14.8% of all traffic fatalities, while representing only 3.9% of all traffic injuries in 2012.

Drunk driving or riding continues to be a worrisome factor involved in motorcycle fatality statistics. In 2012, alcohol was a component in the deaths of 1,390 motorcyclists. Representing 30.8% of all fatalities, there were 10,322 deaths where one party, not necessarily the person killed, had a blood alcohol content level of 0.08 g/dL or greater.

Helmet use continues to be an issue concerning motorcyclists that was recently addressed by the American Motorcyclist Association and a government task force. According to the NHTSA report, states that do not have a universal helmet law accounted for 1,858 fatalities from riders without helmets. Conversely, in states with universal helmet laws, un-helmeted fatalities totaled only 178. The NHTSA reported that these states were nearly equivalent in terms of combined population size, thus eliminating that as an influential factor in the large discrepancy.

An overall increase in the use of motorcycles which included a long riding season fueled by an improving economy could be a contributing factor to these increased numbers for 2012. Reducing speeding and alcohol- impaired driving, providing motorcycle operator training, increasing helmet use and encouraging all motorists to share the road are all ways to help reduce motorcycle injuries and fatalities.

At Russ Brown Motorcycle Attorneys®, we don’t like the fact that motorcycle accidents and injuries are occurring at a more rapid rate these days. We encourage all riders to ride safely, dress appropriately, and take the necessary safety precautions to avoid devastating motorcycle accidents.

Yet we also know other motorists on the road account for the majority of motorcycle accidents, simply because they failed to see the motorcyclist in the road. As a result, they may turn into an oncoming motorcyclist or side swipe a biker on a freeway.

If you or someone you love is injured in a motorcycle accident anywhere in the United States, call the Russ Brown Motorcycle Attorneys® immediately at 1-800-4-BIKERS today for a free consultation and review of your case. We Ride—We Care—We Win!