GHSA Report on Motorcycle Accidents Contains Mixed Messages
The Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) just released a preliminary report on accidents involving motorcycle riders that contains both good and bad news. While the report focused on the fact that the number of fatal motorcycle accidents was down by nearly 6 percent last year, other disturbing issues surfaced. GHSA’s research shows that more motorcyclists are now driving distracted and there’s a growing problem of drivers riding drug impaired.
Though Lower than the Past, Motorcycle Accidents Still Cause for Concern
GHSA, which gathers statistics from highway officials in each state in the country, notes that its 2017 preliminary research shows that motorcycle crash fatalities last year decreased by nearly 300 people. It highlights that last year, 4,990 people were killed in motorcycle crashes, as compared to 5,286 bikers killed in 2016. Colorado motorcycle accident fatalities also went down in 2017 as compared to 2016.
Last year, 103 bikers were killed in crashes in the state as compared to 125 the year before. While that’s encouraging news across the board, GHSA also notes several negatives when it comes to motorcycle safety. The one statistic that continues to jump out is the rate of motorcycle fatalities when compared to deaths involving vehicle drivers and passengers.
According to GHSA, when comparing miles traveled, motorcyclists are 28 times more likely to be involved in a fatal crash than vehicle passengers. If this number holds true, it does reflect a small uptick when compared to statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which noted that in 2014, motorcyclists were 27 times more likely to be killed in a crash versus occupants in a car. Regardless of the number of fatalities and injuries, officials say factors leading to more crashes all involve driver behavior, and that is something they are trying to stress in hopes of reducing motorcycle accidents across the country.
Alcohol, Drugged Driving, and Distracted Driving All Lead to Increased Accidents
When it comes to accidents involving motorcycles, drivers are not much different than drivers of vehicles who are involved in crashes. GHSA notes that the top reasons it found for accidents mirror those found vehicle crashes – driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs and distraction. GHSA notes that:
- Its 2016 research showing that 25 percent of those killed in a motorcycle accident and driving with a blood alcohol content over the legal limit will remain the same for 2017. Meaning, one-fourth of those killed were driving drunk. Because of this, GHSA says safety officials nationwide are now looking at the possibility of using ignition interlocks on Some vehicle drivers must have this lock, which requires a driver to breathe into a device, and if alcohol is detected, the vehicle will not start.
- More motorcyclists are driving drug-impaired; recreational marijuana has been a common factor since its legalization. Officials say drug impairment is known to increase a person’s chance of being involved in an accident. In fact, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) released a report last year showing vehicle collision claims going up in states with legalized recreational marijuana.
- There is an increase in the number of motorcycle drivers who are riding distracted. It notes that in Virginia, fatal motorcycle crashes more than doubled last year due to distracted driving.
Again, when it comes to the most recent reports, there is good and bad news when it comes to motorcycle accidents. Deaths are down, but riders are still significantly more at risk of death or injury than those in a vehicle. That fact, according to officials, is a stark reminder that much more needs to be done to reduce motorcycle accidents that lead to injuries and deaths. If you or a loved one has been involved in a Colorado motorcycle accident, contact a knowledgeable personal injury attorney for a free consultation to discuss the details of your accident.