According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), motorcycle riders are overrepresented in fatal crashes. Motorcycles are only three percent of the vehicles on the road but in 2012, they made up 15 percent of traffic fatalities. Over 25 percent of fatal motorcycle crashes in that year were due to a motorcyclist with a blood alcohol level greater than the legal limit of 0.08. The rates of fatal crashes are highest on weekend evenings and holidays.
It has long been known that impaired driving is dangerous, but it appears to be particularly dangerous for motorcyclists. An impaired driver of a car is more likely to survive a crash than an impaired motorcyclist. Safely riding a motorcycle requires focus, balance and coordination. All three are negatively impacted by alcohol consumption.
In 2012, more than 2,000 fatal motorcycle crashes were single vehicle wrecks and 43 percent of the motorcycle riders who died in those crashes were under the influence. In some of these cases, the poor decision to ride without a helmet led to the fatality. Statistics indicate that use of helmets for riders killed in a crash was only 45 percent for those with a blood alcohol level of 0.08 higher. Compare that to 66 percent for those not under the influence.
The NHTSA has implemented the Ride Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign in an effort to reduce the number of motorcycle fatalities. Here are some tips from the campaign:
- Always wear a helmet that is DOT compliant.
- Wear protective clothing.
- Always ride sober.
- If you will be drinking, plan an alternate form of transportation like a designated driver.
Don't become a motorcycle statistic. Avoid riding when you have been drinking. Keep yourself and everyone else on the road safe!