The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) has declared that motorcycle fatalities represent the nation’s greatest highway traffic safety challenge. Over the past decade, the number of motorcycle fatalities has more than doubled over the past decade, representing 14% of all passenger vehicle occupant deaths. While part of this increase can be attributed to an increase in the number of motorcyclists, the number of fatalities is increasing at a greater rate than the overall increase in ridership. An understanding of the factors involved in motorcycle crashes is needed in order to develop effective safety measures that will reduce the rate of motorcycle crashes and fatalities. This book examines the helmet use of motorcycle riders 21 and older involved in fatal crashes. The analysis is based on data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) over the years 1997-2006. In addition, the characteristics of lower-extremity injuries among motorcyclists involved in traffic crashes are defined. Areas that may explain the possible causes for the recent continued increases in motorcycle rider fatalities are also examined. Furthermore, this book describes strategies for the Department to improve motorcycle safety during FY 2008 and 2009. Key Department motorcycle safety initiatives include creating a training program designed to educate police on motorcycle safety and the specific enforcement efforts they can undertake to reduce motorcycle crashes and a comprehensive examination of the factors that causes crashes, which will help the Department develop stronger programs and strategies to combat the rising trends in motorcycle crashes.
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