Friday, December 18, 2009

Motorcycle Accident Safety Study Launched

The Federal Highway Administration will start a new study to look into causes of motorcycle accidents. This will help develop procedures and strategies that can prevent or minimize these accidents.

The study will be conducted at the Oklahoma State University’s Transportation Center. This will be the first one in quite some time. The last such study was conducted in 1981, and resulted in the release of the Hurt Report. However, the findings of the Hurt Report and any effects they may have had on motorcycle safety, have begun to lose their impact in the nearly 30 years since the report was released. This can be seen in the steady increase in the rates of motorcycle accident fatalities across the country. Although the simple fact is more motorcyclists mean more accidents.

In 2008, approximately 5,300 motorcyclists were killed nationwide in these accidents, which is about 14 percent of all traffic accident fatalities that year. An estimated 177 of those fatalities occurred in Georgia. This was even as accident fatality rates in other groups, like automobile accidents and pedestrian accidents, showed a marked downward trend. According to the Department of Transportation’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System, motorcyclist fatalities increased by 150 percent between 1997 and 2008.

Interstingly this comes at a time when states are in financial trouble and the first thing to be cut is special funds such as those to promote motorcycle safety. Luckily in Ohio the attempt was foiled when the governor tried to raid high profile funds.