Alabama Ranked 8th in the Nation for Fatal Motorcycle Crashes

Posted in Uncategorized on August 20, 2018.

While motorcycles provide an alternate and often more enjoyable form of transportation to a standard automobile, they also come with their own set of dangers. The smaller size of motorcycles can make them hard for other motorists to notice, and the lack of any sort of enclosed space puts riders and passengers at a greater risk for serious injury in an accident.

That means motorcyclists are at a much higher risk for fatalities in an accident. The Auto Insurance Center of America did a study of such deaths throughout 2016 by using data from the National Highway Traffic Administration. The results found a strong concentration of motorcycle accident fatalities in the South, with Alabama ranking number eight for most fatalities per 100,000 registered motorcycles.

In fact, the top ten were mostly Southern states, including Mississippi as number one:

  1. Mississippi
  2. South Carolina
  3. Texas
  4. Kentucky
  5. Nevada
  6. Florida
  7. North Carolina
  8. Alabama
  9. Georgia
  10. Arizona

Though one might expect the collective top states to have lenient helmet laws, that’s not the case. Alabama has universal helmet laws, as does the top-ranking Mississippi. Many other states in the top ten also have universal or partial helmet laws.

For Alabama, only 10% of all fatalities in the state included drivers or passengers without helmets. The lesson here should be that while helmets unquestionably prevent some fatalities and serious head injuries they are not all that’s needed to reduce the fatality rate.

The motorcycle mortality rate of 2016 is the highest it’s been since 2008, though the fatality rate has remained relatively consistent for the intervening period. The mortality rate for motorcyclists was 60.9% per 100k registered vehicles, which is six times greater than the 9.9% of fatal passenger vehicle accidents. The overall level of such crashes also spiked in the same year.

Responsible Riding

With the geographical and legal differences between states, the Auto Insurance Center’s study confirms that there are risks that motorcycle riders face that are much more deadly than for other drivers. Making responsible decisions while driving can help reduce the risk of incidents, helping to prevent injury and death.

Some responsible habits include:

  • Wearing a helmet and other protective gear. While helmets cannot prevent every type of injury, they can significantly reduce the chances of suffering serious head injury and brain damage. It’s also the law. You should also have eye protection of some sort to prevent visibility issues while driving.
  • Wear protective clothing. Because motorcyclists will be thrown off the motorcycle in all but the most minor accidents, it is important to dress appropriately. Sliding across concrete or tarmac can cause severe skin damage, called “road rash,” so it helps to wear at least gloves, a jacket, and long pants that can absorb some of the damage.
  • Perform regular motorcycle maintenance. When your motorcycle is in top condition, it’s easier to handle properly. Getting your motorcycle inspected on a regular basis will help prevent issues before they become much bigger problems.
  • Don’t engage in reckless driving. Ignoring speed limits and other traffic laws is a prime risk condition for accidents. You should follow the rules of the road, don’t attempt to cut other vehicles off, and adjust your driving appropriately to roadway conditions and inclement weather.

Drivers of other vehicles can also contribute to motorcyclist safety by always remaining alert and sharing the road with any bikers. With such a notable statistic present, we should take the appropriate precautions to help all drivers make it to their destinations safely. When everyone takes steps to look out for each other, the chances of an accident drops.