Recommendations To Improve Motorcycle Safety

In June, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (“NHTSA”) issued a report prioritizing recommendations contained in its National Agenda for Motorcycle Safety (“NAMS”). Developed in 2000 by the NHSTA in collaboration with the Motorcycle Safety Foundation (“MSF”) the NAMS is comprehensive plan to improve motorcycle safety across the United States and thereby decrease the incidence of motorcycle accidents.

The NAMS contains eighty two recommendations, addressing a range of topics and strategies related motorcycle safety, including, human, vehicle, environmental, and social factors to prevent crashes, reduce injuries in crashes, and care for people injured in crashes. The NAMS recommendations were prioritized in three groups: urgent (4), essential (56), and necessary (22).

Pursuant to a recommendation by the National Transportation Safety Board (“NTSB”), the NHTSA has prioritized the NAMS recommendations based on objective criteria. The recommendations were prioritized based on a complicated methodology designed to estimate each recommendation overall impact on safety outcomes.

The example given to demonstrate the method concludes that, if alcohol causes 30 percent of fatal motorcycle crashes (in the sense that the crashes would not have occurred if the motorcycle riders had been sober) and an alcohol program is estimated to reduce alcohol-impaired motorcycling by 20 percent, then a recommendation to implement this program would have a 30% x 20% = 6% impact on motor vehicle fatalities.

The NAMS were then reprioritized based upon their estimated impact on traffic safety. The top ten recommendations were, in order of highest priority:

1. Use effective strategies to increase use of FMVSS 218-compliant helmets.
2. Study motorcyclists’ alcohol, drug, and medication use patterns.
3. Study effectiveness of linked and antilock brakes; if positive, use more widely.
4. Study riders’ attitudes, behavior, effect on crash involvement.
5. Identify critical crash avoidance skills.
6. Revise FMVSS 218 – improve performance.
7. Evaluate crash avoidance technology (e.g., pre-crash warning systems).
8. Develop training, licensing, technology measures to address crash avoidance problems.
9. Educate police and judges on motorcycle safety issues.
10. Educate police on alcohol-related behavior of motorcyclists.

The most important recommendation to improve motorcycle safety was to develop and utilized better strategies to increase the use of helmets. According to the report, the effectiveness of motorcycle helmets in reducing head injury and the probability of fatality in a crash has been documented extensively and estimates that helmets reduce fatalities in a motorcycle crash by 37% for riders and 41% for passengers. The recommendation would enact universal helmet laws in the thirty states that do not have them, increasing the use of helmets from 34% to about 73%, thereby affecting 39% of the fatalities.

If you, your family or friends have been involved an accident in which you sustained injuries at the hands of a negligent driver, you may need legal representation to protect your right to compensation. The attorneys of Gerson & Schwartz, P.A. have extensive experience representing individuals who have been injured in motor vehicle accidents. If you or someone you know has been injured in a motorcycle accident, contact the Miami motorcycle accident lawyers of Gerson & Schwartz, P.A today.

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