Louisiana motorcycle fatalities in the wake of governmentally implemented change: A retrospective analysis of the motorcycle morbidity and mortality before, during, and after the repeal of a statewide helmet mandate.
ABSTRACT On August 15, 2004, Louisiana's universal motorcycle helmet mandate was reinstated. Previous studies have shown that mortality and morbidity of motorcycle riders who crashed had increased during the 5 years the mandate was repealed. The objective of this study was to discern whether the reinstatement of the universal helmet mandate has resulted in a subsequent decrease in motorcycle-related mortality and morbidity in the state of Louisiana.
A retrospective analysis was performed observing the regularity of helmet use and the associated morbidity and mortality of motorcycle traffic accidents from the time before, during, and after the universal motorcycle helmet mandate was repealed in the state of Louisiana. Fatality statistics were obtained through the National Highway Safety Traffic Association. Injury, helmet use, and collision data were obtained from the Louisiana Highway Safety Commission. Motorcycle registration data were obtained from the Federal Highway Administration.
Motorcycle crash-related fatalities increased significantly when the statewide helmet mandate was repealed, and interestingly, after reinstatement, these fatality rates never returned to their previous lows. Motorcycle fatalities have increased out of proportion to the increase in motorbike registrations, even when yearly fatalities are normalized to fatalities per 10,000 registered bikes. An all-time high in fatalities was seen in 2006, a year subsequent to the mandate's reinstatement. Fatalities per collision were elevated significantly after the mandate's repeal but did not return to prerepeal lows after the mandate's reinstatement.
Although helmet use after reinstatement has reached all-time highs, fatality rates have remained elevated since the original mandate repeal in 1999. Other achievable changes in state policy and law enforcement should be explored to quell this heightened risk to motorcycle enthusiasts in Louisiana, and states considering changing their own motorcycle helmet legislation should observe keenly the aftermath of both a mandate repeal and reinstatement.
Epidemiological study, level IV.
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ABSTRACT: In a consecutive series of 132 motorcycle and moped riders killed in 1977-1983 in southern Sweden and examined post mortem, almost half of the fatal injuries of the head and neck occurred remote from the point of impact, namely certain intracranial injuries without fractures, ring fractures of the base of the skull, disruption of the junction of the head and neck and injuries of the cervical spine. Ring fractures of the base of the skull were noticeably more frequent in motorcyclists than in car occupants who died. Injuries occurring remote from the point of impact were often the result of impacts against the anterior part of the head, especially against the face. All 5 riders suffering disruption of the junction of the head and neck were helmeted, which suggests that the helmet may promote such injuries. In some of these cases, no sign of impact against the head could be detected. The inertia of the head, enhanced by the helmet, is supposed to contribute to some of these injuries, which calls into question the protection provided by the helmet. Fatal head injuries at the point of impact were mostly found on the lateral-posterior part of the head. These injuries were often irrespective of whether or not a helmet was used. The points of impact were found mainly rung around the head. Protective helmets should be improved in order to give better protection against injuries at the site of impact, especially in the above-mentioned area, to give better protection of the face and to increase energy-absorbing capacity.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)Injury 02/1985; 16(4):253-8. DOI:10.1016/S0020-1383(85)80014-0 · 2.46 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Following the repeal of the North Dakota mandatory motorcycle helmet law in 1977, the State Highway and Health Departments initiated a study to examine the impact of the change on driver safety. Motorcycle crash data gathered by the State Highway Patrol and other law enforcement agencies was augmented by death and injury reports submitted to the State Health Department by medical care providers. The combined data set produced 2934 crashes, 2162 traumatized victims, 3718 injuries and 53 deaths between January 1977 and December 1980. Reporting from medical providers increased the volume of crash reports, improved the reliability of the highway data and added an unrecognized population of victims to the data base. In spite of the clear indication that injuries and deaths had increased among motorcycle users who rode without helmet protection, legislative passage of a mandatory helmet law in either the 1979 or the 1981 North Dakota legislative session failed. The reasons behind the legislative rejection of efforts to improve highway safety are examined. The forces that affect politics are reviewed.Accident Analysis & Prevention 03/1987; 19(1):21-8. DOI:10.1016/0001-4575(87)90014-5 · 1.87 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: The cases of 311 motorcycle accident victims who were seen at a major trauma center over 17 months were reviewed. The types and severity of injuries were standardized according to the Injury Severity Score (ISS) for motor vehicle accidents. Victims were categorized into groups: helmet or no helmet and major, minor or no head injury. Major injury was defined as a 3 on the Abbreviated Injury Scale for "head" (loss of consciousness for at least 15 minutes with or without skull fracture and with or without neurological deficit). THE FOLLOWING CONCLUSIONS ARE DRAWN: (1) The death rate for those with and without helmets was not significantly different, (2) the victims of fatal accidents had identical total ISS scores regardless of the presence of helmets, (3) the chance of sustaining a severe head injury was significantly higher in the no helmet group and (4) the incidence of long-term neurological defect was three times greater in the no helmet group.Western Journal of Medicine 09/1981; 135(2):89-92.