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Motorcycle Helmet Safety in Georgia

I recently wrote about Georgia motorcycle wrecks. Today I’d like to address the vital topic of helmet use among motorcyclists. In Georgia, we have a universal helmet law – but I’ve seen plenty of riders without helmets. And not all states have helmet laws. If you know a motorcyclist, talk to him or her about the importance of wearing a helmet.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) release a report on helmet use and motorcycle crash outcomes last month. The report used data from the NHTSA Crash Outcome Data Evaluation System (CODES).

The study examined 104,472 motorcyclists involved in crashes in 18 states in 2003, 2004, and 2005. Researchers used advanced statistical methods to analyzed the data.

The study found that 57 percent of motorcyclists were wearing a helmet at the time of their crash. That’s only slightly more than half! Among the non-helmeted riders, 6.6 percent suffered moderate to severe head or face injury, compared to 5.1 percent of riders wearing helmets.

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is common in motorcycle accidents, especially among non-helmeted riders. In 21 percent of hospital-treated non-helmeted motorcyclists, TBI occurred. TBI was found in 15 percent of helmeted riders.

Nearly 9 percent of non-helmeted and 7 percent of helmeted hospital-treated motorcyclists received minor to moderate TBI. More than 7 percent of non-helmeted and 4.7 percent of hospital-treated helmeted motorcyclists sustained severe TBI.

Median charges for hospitalized motorcyclists who survived to discharge were 13 times higher for those incurring a TBI compared to those who did not sustain a TBI ($31,979 versus $2,461). Over 85 percent of hospital-treated motorcyclists without a TBI were discharged home, compared to 56 percent of motorcyclists with severe TBI. Motorcyclists admitted to the hospital with TBI were more likely to die, be discharged to rehab, or transferred to a long-term care facility. While 17 percent of all hospital-admitted motorcyclists had TBI, they account for 54 percent of all admitted riders who did not survive.

The study’s logistic regression analysis indicated that helmets significantly reduce the odds of sustaining head or facial injury, TBI, and dying in the hospital.

Further, fatalities increased for the tenth year in a row in 2007. There has also been an increase in motorcycle registrations during this time, but the rate of fatalities exceeds the rate of registrations. The increase in fatalities has been greatest among riders aged 40 and above. These older riders make up about half of all motorcycle crash fatalities. In 1997, motorcyclists over the age of 40 accounted for 33 percent of fatalities, but by 2007, they accounted for 49 percent of fatalities. Riders over the age of 49 account for the largest increase in fatalities.

If you or a loved one have been injured in a motorcycle crash or car wreck and another party may be at fault, contact an experienced Georgia auto accident attorney immediately. You may be entitled to compensation. An experienced attorney will help you get the compensation your deserve. Call MLN Law at 404-531-9700 to schedule a free consultation.