An interesting government report on the costs of motorcycle accidents was recently released by the Government Accountability Office (GAO). The report stated that in 2010, the cost of injuries and deaths due to motorcycle crashes was $16 billion. That sounds like a huge amount of money, but it is likely underestimated as the costs of long term care for medical issues are not factored in.
The GAO, in its report, reviewed: knowledge about the cost of motorcycle crashes; the factors contributing to motorcycle accidents, fatalities, what individual states are doing in response; and how the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is assisting the states.
The GAO noted that motorcyclists, per mile traveled, are 30 percent more likely to die in a vehicle accident than persons in cars. In 2010, the year dealt with in this latest report, about 82,000 motorcyclists were injured in motorcycle accidents in the United States. 4,502 were killed. The report states that the average cost for a fatal crash was $1.2 million, the GAO estimated. Moreover, the cost for injuries, depending on severity, was between $2,500 and $1.4 million.These costs are just estimates because true costs often are only apparent years later. Aside from long term medical issues, there are employment and living issues that are difficult to measure.
Lack of helmet use is one problem the GAO highlighted. It doesn’t prevent crashes but it does decrease the likelihood of death in a crash. Fortunately, Georgia is one of the nineteen states that have mandatory helmet laws for motorcyclists. Other strategies states can use to lower the accident, and fatality, rate are: licensing, training, enforcement of alcohol restrictions and speed limits, education programs to raise awareness, and laws enforcing wearing of helmets. So far the most effective have been helmet laws, and a combination of strong enforcement of the laws with public education about the issue.
Aside from providing training and guidance to states, NHTSA has given motorcycle grants to states for the purpose of improving safety, which have totaled $45.6 million over the last four years. NHTSA has also spent $7.5 million to identify and evaluate state strategies on this topic.
The GAO report recommended to Congress that the NHTSA be allowed to expand its motorcycle safety grants program to individual states and allow states more flexibility in using the grant money. It also recommended that NHTSA set research priorities for finding the most effective projects to reduce motorcycle crashes and fatalities. The GAO will obtain comments by Department of Transportation officials, which will then be incorporated into this report as well.
Atlanta Motorcycle Accident Lawyers
The lawyers at Sammons & Carpenter have experience dealing with vehicle accidents, including car, trucks, and motorcycle accidents, in Georgia. If you or a loved one has been injured in a motorcycle accident, contact the personal injury lawyers at Sammons & Carpenter at 404-814-8948, or fill out our confidential online case evaluation form for a free consultation.
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