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4. Research Priorities

Medium Priority Methodologies

Methodologies discussed in this section should be considered lower in priority than those discussed in the previous section, though they still offer some value in understanding the effects of alcohol on motorcycle operation.

Lowest-Cost Category

Closed-Course Study

It was estimated that an off-road study of riders performing low-speed maneuvers at a range of BAC levels could be conducted relatively inexpensively, and would provide good data on the effects of alcohol on motorcycle operation. This study was not rated as scientifically promising by the study authors partly because simula­tion has the potential for studying operation at higher (albeit simulated) speeds, which are more representative of those at which most severe crashes occur. Human-subjects protection issues are another reason that simulation might be a better candidate for future research. As mentioned above, it was suggested that a study combining simulation and low-speed off-road riding could be valuable.

Medium-Cost Category

Fuel Station Survey with Fatal Crash Records, Fuel Station Survey with Injury Crash Records

Both of these methodologies would rely on drinking-riding exposure data collected at fuel stations where motorcyclists come to refuel. This method of collecting exposure data is taken from the OECD International Methodology for On-Scene In-Depth Motorcycle Accident Investigations. Crash data would come from the area local to the fueling station, either from FARS data or injury data collected from local hospitals. While the exposure data collected in this manner would not be as scientifically valid as that collected using the Contemporary Case Control, Geo-Specific, or Geo-General methods, it may be possible to obtain useful data on the drink­ing and riding of local riders at a lower cost using the Fuel Station Survey than using other methods. While this method has been used in Europe and Asia, it should be noted that it has not been used to collect BAC data from riders.  It should also be noted that attempts to conduct a Fuel Station Survey in the United States met with resistance from station owners and fuel companies in California, casting some doubt on the ability to conduct such a study in the United States.

Highest-Cost Category

Emergency Department

This methodology would provide roughly the same data as the Contemporary Case Control Study, however some of the crash case data would be collected by Emergency Department staff when crash victims arrive at the hospital. Costs would be reduced by avoiding the use of an on-call “go-team,” however costs would still be relatively high due to the need to collect comparison data in the field. This study was not rated as scientifically valid as the Contemporary Case Control due to concerns over the quality of the crash data that would be collected, compared to the Contemporary Case Control.

Geo-Specific + Fatal Crash Records

This methodology would generate relative risk curves by matching archival crash data from FARS with comparison data collected from motorcyclists at or near the site of the FARS crashes. This methodology was rated as more scientifically valid than the Geo-General + Fatal Crash Records Study due to the increased scientific validity of collecting data at crash sites rather than at random locations in other parts of the city, State or country. However, due to the nature of the availability of FARS data, the comparison data would probably be collected at least a year or more after the fatal crash occurrence.