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What data tells us

  • In 2012, 4,957 motorcyclists were killed on the Nation's roadways.
  • There was a 33-percent increase in motorcyclist fatalities from 2003 to 2012.
  • During 2012, 93,000 motorcyclists were injured—an increase of 12,000 from the previous year.
  • There were 10 times as many unhelmeted motorcyclist fatalities in States without universal helmet laws (1,858) as in States with universal helmet laws (178) in 2012. These States were nearly equivalent with respect to resident population.
  • In 2012, there were 19 States with universal helmet laws. The average use rate of DOTcertified motorcycle helmets was 89 percent in States with universal helmet laws, compared to 49 percent in States without universal helmet laws.
  • In a study of patients admitted to a shock trauma center in Baltimore, Maryland, 50 percent of the motorcyclists wearing a substandard helmet (sometimes referred to as a novelty helmet) received a head injury compared to 23 percent of motorcyclists wearing DOT-certified motorcycle helmets.
  • More than half of the motorcyclists killed across the United States in 2012 were age 40 or older.
  • According to the National Roadside Survey conducted in 2007, almost 6 percent of motorcyclists are estimated to be riding while alcohol-impaired (not crash-related figures) at night. This was the largest percentage of impairment compared to drivers of passenger cars, light trucks, SUVs and vans.
  • In fatal crashes in 2012, a higher percentage of motorcycle riders had blood alcohol concentrations (BAC) of .08 grams per deciliter or higher than any other type of motor vehicle driver. More than 1 in 4 (27%) motorcycle riders involved in fatal crashes were alcohol-impaired.