Statistics Show Drinking to be a Major Factor in Motorcycle Injuries

Posted on behalf of Henness & Haight on Dec 17, 2014 in Car Accident News

Drinking and operating a motorcycle can be one of the deadliest decisions anyone could make. Because of many factors, riding a motorcycle under the influence can be even more dangerous than other vehicles in most situations. A rash of tragic news stories where a motorcycle driver killed their loved ones as passengers after DUI should bring this point home. If graphic examples are not enough, here are some facts.

Crash Statistics

The United States National Highway Transportation Safety Association (NHTSA) has parsed through thousands of accident reports in order to detect trends. During their studies, they found that 30 percent of all motorcycle crashes that caused a fatality had drivers with an illegal level of alcohol in their blood. That number shoots up to 45 percent of all fatal accidents when considering any amount of alcohol. A report issued by the CDC had even more sobering findings. DUI-related accidents, as well as fatalities resulting from accidents, have increased over the last several years among motorcycle riders. Drivers over the age of 40 were particularly susceptible to becoming involved in accidents after consuming too much alcohol. So, while the total rate of motor vehicle DUI accidents has decreased overall, motorcycle users are steadily increasing their contribution.

A Subculture Trend?

There is a huge amount of variety among the types of people who enjoy riding motorcycles. Defining one type of "biker" would be impossible and inaccurate because motorcycles have such a wide range of appeal. Despite this fact, drinking and biking is still a concerning trend. Motorcyclists are among the highest risk groups for dangerous crashes while under the influence, along with teens and repeat offenders. The NHTSA estimates that motorcyclists are 2.5 times more likely to have consumed alcohol when involved in fatal accidents than passenger vehicle operators.

A Demanding Machine

Perhaps motorcyclists exhibit this trend because driving a bike while intoxicated is particularly difficult. Maintaining balance, nuanced use of two separate brakes, precise shifting and a lack of external protections all make biking inherently more dangerous. Add alcohol to the mix, and suddenly a small reduction in motor functions becomes a deadly prospect. Studies have shown that because operating a motorcycle is so demanding, that even legal limits of alcohol can be dangerous. Worst of all, drivers have reported that they disregard this danger because the sensations that inhibit motor functions can make riding a motorcycle under the influence seem more "fun." Generally, most people's idea of fun does not involve premature death. For all of these reasons, avoid operating a motorcycle after consuming even a moderate amount of alcohol if you want to reduce your chance of risk. Motorcyclists often do not get the second chance that seat belts, crumple zones, and airbags offer other drivers. If you have been in an accident either as a result of being under the influence or caused by someone under the influence, you may still have legal recourse and should retain the services of a car accident lawyer as soon as possible.