FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 30, 2013
Contact: Barbara Harsha
New Study a Reminder of Importance of Motorcycle Helmet Use
Statement for Attribution to Barbara Harsha, Executive Director,
Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA)
WASHINGTON, D.C.—Today’s study from the Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI) is a reminder of something we have long known – the repeal of state motorcycle helmet laws is a bad and dangerous idea. HLDI’s study shows that since Michigan’s repeal of its universal helmet law in 2012, the medical costs of injured motorcyclists increased substantially, while motorcycle injury crashes also increased. This is consistent with many previous studies showing that repealing a law requiring all riders to wear helmets inevitably and quickly increases motorcyclist fatalities.
Michigan is one of six states that have repealed their universal helmet law since 1997. Only 19 states currently have universal helmet laws, and no state has enacted a law since 2004. This is despite the fact the helmet use has been cited by researchers as the single most effective countermeasure in reducing motorcyclist injuries and deaths.
The new data from HLDI adds to the evidence that motorcycle safety is going in the wrong direction. Earlier this month, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), reported that helmet use declined six percentage points in 2012, to 60 percent.
Last month, GHSA projected that motorcyclist deaths increased nine percent in 2012. This would mark the 14th of the last 15 years in which motorcyclist deaths increased. During a period of remarkable progress in other aspects of highway safety, the increases in motorcycle fatalities have been an aberration.
While the news about motorcyclist safety continues to be disheartening, there is no mystery about what should be done to keep riders safe. As noted in GHSA’s recent report, states should address six issues:
- Increase helmet use
- Work to reduce alcohol impairment among motorcyclists
- Work to address speeding among motorcyclists
- Increase operator training opportunities
- Ensure operators are properly licensed
- Encourage all drivers to share the road with motorcyclists
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The Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA)® is a nonprofit association representing the highway safety offices of states, territories, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. GHSA provides leadership and representation for the states and territories to improve traffic safety, influence national policy, enhance program management and promote best practices. Its members are appointed by their Governors to administer federal and state highway safety funds and implement state highway safety plans. Contact GHSA at 202-789-0942 or visit www.ghsa.org. Find us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/GHSAhq or follow us on Twitter at @GHSAHQ.