A recent report published in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report found that injuries and deaths related to motorcycle crashes were significantly reduced by the use of motorcycle helmets. According to the report, motorcyclists accounted for 14 percent of all traffic fatalities across the nation in 2010 despite that motorcycles traveled less than one percent of all vehicle miles driven. The report authors also stated the most effective way to raise the rate of helmet use is to adopt a universal motorcycle helmet law that requires all drivers and passengers to wear a helmet whenever traveling on a motorcycle.
The report authors examined data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration regarding fatal traffic crashes throughout the nation between 2008 and 2010. Next, they compared motorcycle crash data with economic information regarding the estimated cost savings related to wearing a motorcycle helmet. According to the report, motorcycle helmet use saved about $3 billion across the nation in 2010. The authors stated, however, that an additional $1.4 billion would have been saved if everyone riding on a motorcycle in 2010 was wearing a helmet.
According to the report, helmet use in states with a universal helmet law saved an average of $725 in medical and productivity costs per registered motorcycle. In states without such a law, helmet use reportedly saved an average of $198 per registered motorcycle. The authors stated the cost savings from helmet use ranged from about $1,627 per registered motorcycle in North Carolina to $48 in New Mexico. According to the report, 23 of the 25 states that fell below the median helmet use cost savings of $286 were either partial helmet law states such as Indiana, or states without a helmet law.
Between 2008 and 2010, 14,283 people were killed in motorcycle crashes throughout the United States. 42 percent of those killed were not wearing a protective helmet at the time of the accident. In the 20 states with a universal helmet law, only about 12 percent of those killed in a motorcycle crash were not wearing a helmet. In states with a partial helmet law that requires only a specific subset of the population to wear a protective helmet while riding on a motorcycle, approximately 64 percent of those killed in a motorcycle crash in 2010 were not wearing a helmet. In those states without a helmet law, about 79 percent of people who died in a traffic accident while riding a motorcycle in 2010 were not wearing a helmet.
Motorcycle crashes in Indiana are often caused by another driver’s negligence or inattention. Due to the limited protection provided by a motorcycle, the injuries sustained in an Indiana motorcycle accident are often catastrophic or fatal.
What do you think? Should the State of Indiana pass a universal motorcycle helmet law?
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Helmet Use Among Motorcyclists Who Died in Crashes and Economic Cost Savings Associated With State Motorcycle Helmet Laws — United States, 2008-2010, by Rebecca B. Naumann, MSPH and Ruth A. Shults, PhD, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, June 15, 2012
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