Distracted Drivers or Middle Aged Motorcyclists; Who is the Problem in Massachusetts?
According to a new study by researchers at the University of Michigan, motorcyclists have a higher death rate than distracted drivers.
From 2005 through 2008, the number of fatalities involving motorcyclists grew from 4,492 to 5,129, at a rate of 14%. During that same time period, the number of fatalities attributable to “inattentive driving” grew from 2,369 to 3,366. The researchers attributed the motorcycle statistics to “middle-aged men with little or no prior experience.”
Total deaths from motor vehicle crashes was 43,500 in 2005. That number declined to 34,000 in 2008. Of course, alcohol and speed still account for the vast majority of deaths on highways: in 2008, 62%, or, over 21,000 deaths were attributable to single vehicle crashes. This number declined from 2005 to 2008, by 9%, however, is was less than the overall decline, which was 13%.
It is important to note that while fatalities on highways dropped over the years studied, fatalities on city streets actually rose. The University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute http://www.umtri.umich.edu/news.php researchers conclude that one of the major reasons for the fatality decline was the reduction in side impact crashes, indicating that side airbags are having a tremendous impact.