Helmet Usage can Minimize Brain Injury Risk in Motorcycle Accident Victims
Efforts by law enforcement authorities and transportation authorities in Georgia and nationwide, have helped lower accident fatality rates over the past few years. However, the rates of motorcycle accident fatalities have increased dramatically during the same period.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, as of 2008, motorcycle accident fatalities had actually increased for the 11th year running.
There was a staggering increase of 144 percent in motorcycle fatalities in 2007, compared to 1997. In fact, fatality increase rates have been greater than the rates of motorcycle registration.
This much is clear – we need to not just enforce current motorcycle safety rules more strongly, but also look into other factors, like the increasingly distracted motorists on our streets who may be contributing to this increase. As Atlanta motorcycle accident lawyers, we would advise riders to follow one simple rule -always wear an approved helmet.
The NHTSA seems to agree. The agency has just released a report (Hat Tip to John Day at Day on Torts) underlining the relationship between motorcycle helmet use and the diminished risk of traumatic brain injury. The report is based on data gathered from 18 states, and featuring 104,472 motorcyclists. Out of this group, 57 percent were wearing helmets at the time of the accident, while the remaining were not. The report shows a strong relationship between helmet usage during accidents, and the risk of Traumatic Brain Injury.
· Among motorcyclists who did not wear a helmet, the risk of a moderate to severe facial or head injury was 6.6 percent. Among helmeted motorcyclists, that number dropped to 5.5 percent.
· Traumatic brain injury occurred in 15 percent of victims who were wearing a helmet. Among non-helmeted motorcyclists, TBI occurred in 21 percent of victims.
· Motorcycle helmet use doesn’t merely protect against Traumatic Brain Injury, it also diminishes the severity of the injury. While 9 percent of non helmeted motorcyclists suffered minor to moderate TBI, 7 percent of helmeted motorcyclists suffered the same severity of TBI. While 7 percent of non helmeted motorcyclists suffered severe TBI, that rate was dramatically lower in helmeted motorcyclists at 4.7 percent.
Reducing these fatality rates is going to be a serious challenge. Not just are there more number of motorcyclists on the road, but these people are also older than they used to be in past decades. In fact, in 1997, riders aged 40 and above made up 33 percent of motorcyclist deaths. This group had expanded to comprise 49 percent of motorcycle fatalities by 2007.