New data released by the Governors Highway Safety Administration (GHSA) shows that motorcycle fatalities in the United States rose by about nine percent in 2012. Last year, approximately 5,000 people were killed in a motorcycle crash. Despite the fact that overall traffic deaths have decreased by almost 25 percent since 1997, motorcycle fatalities have increased by almost 240 percent. GHSA data shows that the rate of motorcycle traffic fatalities across the nation rose in 14 out of the last 15 years.
According to GHSA's Deputy Executive Director, Jonathan Adkins, motorcycle accident death rates increased at least in part due to the repeal of helmet laws in a number of states. For example, motorcycle traffic deaths rose by about 18 percent in Michigan following a 2012 repeal of state helmet laws. During the same time frame, overall traffic fatalities across the state only increased by approximately 5.3 percent. In 2011, five motorcycle riders were killed while riding without a helmet across Michigan. In 2012, that number rose to 55. Researchers from the University of Michigan claim at least 26 of those killed would probably have survived if they were wearing a safety helmet.
David Strickland, Director of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), also believes helmet laws save lives. He said every state that has repealed its helmet laws saw a sharp increase in motorcycle fatalities soon after. The NHTSA estimates that 822 motorcyclist deaths across the nation last year could have been prevented by a motorcycle helmet. The Agency also claims that more than 1,800 riders survived a crash as a direct result of helmet use. Currently, only 19 states maintain motorcycle helmet laws.
Other information contained in the GHSA report shows that 42 percent of riders who died in a wreck last year had a blood alcohol content higher than the legal limit of .08 percent. In addition, the GHSA claims added motorcycle safety features such as anti-lock braking technology may significantly reduce the likelihood of a crash. At this time, motorcycle riders are 37 times more likely to be killed in a wreck than an individual who is traveling by passenger vehicle.
Someone who was injured in a motorcycle or other vehicle accident in Maine may be entitled to recover damages for their harm. Before financial compensation may be collected, the victim of a Maine collision must demonstrate that their injury directly resulted from the wreck and that the negligent motorist was more responsible for their harm than they were. If you were injured by another driver anywhere in the State of Maine, you should contact a skilled automobile accident lawyer to discuss your rights.