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Bicyclist Fatalities a Growing Problem for Key Groups

October 28, 2014 Comments off

Bicyclist Fatalities a Growing Problem for Key Groups
Source: Governors Highway Safety Association

The number of bicyclists killed on U.S. roadways is trending upward, particularly for certain subsets of the population, according to a report released today by the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA). GHSA’s Spotlight on Highway Safety: Bicyclist Safety notes that yearly bicyclist deaths increased 16 percent between 2010 and 2012, while overall motor vehicle fatalities increased just one percent during the same time period.

The report’s author, former Insurance Institute for Highway Safety Chief Scientist Dr. Allan Williams, analyzed current and historical fatality data to uncover bicyclist crash patterns. There have been some remarkable changes. For example, adults 20 and older represented 84 percent of bicyclist fatalities in 2012, compared to only 21 percent in 1975. Adult males comprised 74 percent of the total number of bicyclists killed in 2012.

Bicycle fatalities are increasingly an urban phenomenon, accounting for 69 percent of all bicycle fatalities in 2012, compared with 50 percent in 1975. These changes correlate with an increase in bicycling commuters – a 62 percent jump since 2000, according to 2013 Census Bureau data.

While bicyclists killed in motor vehicle crashes increased in 22 states between 2010 and 2012, six states – California, Florida, Illinois, New York, Michigan and Texas – represented 54 percent of all fatalities.

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Study Finds Motorcyclist Fatalities Fell 7% in 2013

May 7, 2014 Comments off

Study Finds Motorcyclist Fatalities Fell 7% in 2013
Source: Governors Highway Safety Association

For only the second year since 1997, U.S. motorcyclist fatalities are projected to decrease in 2013, according to a new analysis of preliminary state data released today by the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA). The latest Spotlight on Highway Safety report also notes that despite the probable 7 percent decrease in rider deaths, motorcyclist safety has not improved in fifteen years.

All 50 states and the District of Columbia provided preliminary motorcyclist fatality counts for the first nine months of 2013 and insights into why their numbers increased or decreased. Compared with the first nine months of 2012, motorcyclist fatalities decreased in 35 states and the District of Columbia, increased in 13 states, and remained the same in two. The report was authored by Dr. James Hedlund of Highway Safety North, a former senior official with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

While this is good news, the report points out that in 2011 motorcycles produced six times more occupant fatalities per registered vehicles than passenger vehicles. Using this same measure, passenger vehicle occupants were twice as safe in 2011 as compared to 1997, but motorcyclist safety has not improved in that period.

Weather, according to the report, was the predominate factor to explain the drop in motorcyclist fatalities from 2012 to 2013. The first six months of 2012 were unusually warm and dry across the nation, prompting an uptick in ridership. The weather in the first nine months of 2013, however, was cooler and wetter, similar to 2011, when fatalities dropped in many states. GHSA Members nationwide echoed this finding.

State Helmet Laws (Motorcycles and Bicycles)

August 8, 2013 Comments off

Helmet Laws
Source: Governors Highway Safety Association

Motorcycle Helmets
In 1967, the federal government required states to enact universal motorcycle helmet laws to qualify for certain highway safety funds. By 1975, all but three had complied. In 1976, Congress revoked federal authority to assess penalties for noncompliance, and states began to weaken helmet laws to apply only to young or novice riders.

Currently, about half the states require helmets for all motorcyclists. Most other states require helmets for certain riders, and a few have no helmet law. GHSA urges all states to adopt a universal motorcycle helmet law and vigorously enforce existing laws.

47 states, the District of Columbia, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands have a helmet law for motorcyclists.

19 states, the District of Columbia, the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands have a universal helmet law, requiring helmets for all riders.

The remaining 28 states and Guam require helmets for specific riders.

3 states (Illinois, Iowa and New Hampshire) do not have a motorcycle helmet law.

Bicycle Helmets

Fewer states have enacted bicycle helmet laws. GHSA only tracks state laws. However, many localities require helmet use for some or all bicyclists.

21 states, the District of Columbia, the Northern Mariana Islands and the Virgin Islands have a helmet law for bicyclists below a certain age, generally about 16.

Only the Virgin Islands requires helmets for all bicyclists.

29 states and Guam have no bicycle helmet law.

Motorcyclist Traffic Fatalities by State: 2012 Preliminary Data

April 24, 2013 Comments off

Motorcyclist Traffic Fatalities by State: 2012 Preliminary Data

Source: Governors Highway Safety Association

In early 2013, GHSA asked its member state highway safety offices to provide their preliminary motorcyclist fatality counts for 2012, as they had done the prior three years. All 50 states and the District of Columbia supplied data. Some states suggested why their numbers had increased or decreased.

Based upon the preliminary data provided, GHSA projects that the number of motorcyclist traffic fatalities in the United States increased about 9 percent from 2011 to 2012.

The report points out that the economy is expected to contribute to more motorcyclist fatalities. With people having more disposable income, more motorcycles will be purchased. At the same time, with the relative high price of gasoline, more people will choose motorcycles to save fuel costs.

It also recommends several proven countermeasures that can help cut the number of motorcycle fatalities on our nation’s roadways.

New Study: Teen Driver Deaths Increase in 2012

February 27, 2013 Comments off

New Study: Teen Driver Deaths Increase in 2012
Source: Governors Highway Safety Association

A report released today by the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) reveals that the number of 16- and 17-year-old driver deaths in passenger vehicles increased dramatically for the first six months of 2012, based on preliminary data supplied by all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Overall, 16- and 17-year-old driver deaths increased from 202 to 240 – a 19 percent jump.

The new report – the first state-by-state look at teen driver fatalities in 2012 – was completed by Dr. Allan Williams, a researcher who formerly served as chief scientist at the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Dr. Williams surveyed GHSA members, who reported fatality numbers for every state and D.C. The increase in teen driver deaths coincides with a projection from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in which all traffic deaths increased by 8 percent. It is particularly concerning that 16- and 17-year-old driver deaths appear to have increased at an even greater rate.

Deaths of 16-year-old drivers increased from 86 to 107 (a 24 percent change), while the number for 17-year-old drivers went from 116 to 133 (a 15 percent change), a cumulative increase of 19 percent. Twenty-five states reported increases, 17 had decreases, and eight states and the District of Columbia reported no change in the number of 16- and 17-year-old driver deaths.

New Study: No Progress in Reducing Motorcyclist Deaths

May 24, 2012 Comments off

New Study: No Progress in Reducing Motorcyclist Deaths
Source: Governors Highway Safety Association

A report released today by the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) finds that no progress was made in reducing motorcyclist deaths in 2011. Based upon preliminary data from 50 states and the District of Columbia, GHSA projects that motorcycle fatalities remained at about 4,500 in 2011, the same level as 2010. Meanwhile, earlier this month, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration projected that overall motor vehicle fatalities declined 1.7 percent in 2011, reaching their lowest level since 1949. Motorcycle deaths remain one of the few areas in highway safety where progress is not being made.

The new report – the first state-by-state look at motorcycle fatalities occurring in 2011 – was authored by Dr. James Hedlund of Highway Safety North. Most states have reasonably complete fatality counts for at least the first nine months of 2011, enabling GHSA to confidently project the full year. Dr. Hedlund completed similar projections for GHSA in 2009 and 2010, with both being very close to the final fatality numbers.

Comparing the first nine months of 2010 to 2011, motorcyclist fatalities decreased in twenty-three states, with notable declines in many. In Connecticut, for example, motorcycle deaths dropped 37 percent, while in New York and North Carolina they fell 16 and 21 percent, respectively.

+ Motorcyclist Traffic Fatalities by State: 2011 Preliminary Data

New Study: Teen Driver Deaths Increase in 2011

February 20, 2012 Comments off

New Study: Teen Driver Deaths Increase in 2011
Source: Governors Highway Safety Association

A report released today by the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) reveals that the number of 16- and 17-year-old driver deaths in passenger vehicles increased slightly for the first six months of 2011, based on preliminary data supplied by all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Overall, 16- and 17-year-old driver deaths increased from 190 to 211 – an 11 percent increase. If the trend continued for the second half of 2011, it will mark the end of eight straight years of cumulative declines in deaths for this age group.

The new report – the first state-by-state look at teen fatalities in 2011 – was completed by Dr. Allan Williams, a researcher who formerly served as chief scientist at the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Dr. Williams surveyed GHSA members, who reported fatality numbers for every state and D.C. The report comes as the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has released a statistical projection suggesting that total motor vehicle deaths for the first six months of 2011 declined 0.9 percent.

Deaths of 16-year-old drivers increased from 80 to 93 (16 percent) while the number for 17-year-olds went from 110 to 118 (7 percent), a cumulative increase of 11 percent. Twenty-three states reported increases, 19 had decreases, and eight states and the District of Columbia reported no change. While the changes in state-by-state fatality numbers generally are small, states such as Florida, Texas and North Carolina reported significant increases.

+ Full Report

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