EVALUATION OF MOTORCYCLE SAFETY HELMET USAGE LAW. FINAL REPORT

This project was an evaluation of the impact that Texas S.B. 198 (modified motorcycle helmet use law) had on motorcycle accidents, injury severities, and fatalities in Texas. The three data sources--motorcycle accident records, medical data on motorcycle accident victims, and rider questionnaires from accident victims--were analyzed. All accidents records from August 29, 1976 through August 28, 1977 (pre-law change) and from August 29, 1977 through August 28, 1978 (post-law change) were evaluated. There were 10,116 motorcycle accidents during the pre period and 10,651 accidents during the post period-a 5.3% increase. Males represented over 95% of all victims and the preponderance of them were from 18 to 25 years of age. As helmet usage decreased, severe injuries and fatalities increased. During the pre period 5.2% of the injury/fatality victims were unhelmeted, while in the post period 51.9% of the victims were unhelmeted. From hospital/coroner data, the head and neck injuries were the most severe for all cases--pre and post as well as in both locations, Dallas and Houston. The number of cases who were "treated and released" was lower for the post period which suggests more severe injuries were sustained. Also the number of "dead on arrival" for the post period were more than doubled that of the pre period. Cost of accident figures increased by 63% for Parkland Hospital cases and 44% for Memorial Hospital cases. From rider questionnaires, it was determined that the exposure factor consisted of local and cross country riding which accounted for the vast majority of riding and that the number of riders during the post period increased substantially. Further, nearly half of the cyclists were riding 6 plus days per week with most of it occurring in urban areas during daylight hours in all types weather. The "before and after accident" helmet usage decreased during the pre period, but increased 75.3% during the post period. Even though only 1 of 5 questionnaire respondents recommended helmet usage for everyone, nearly 3 of 5 favored a required helmet usage law. The results of this study demonstrate the increased risk motorcycle riders face when they choose to ride without protective helmets. (E)

  • Supplemental Notes:
    • Sponsored by Texas Office of Traffic Safety, Austin.
  • Corporate Authors:

    Texas A&M University, College Station

    Human Factors Division
    College Station, TX  USA  77843
  • Authors:
    • Koehler, M
    • Goode, C
  • Publication Date: 1978-12

Media Info

  • Features: Figures; References; Tables;
  • Pagination: 104 p.

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00197247
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Source Agency: National Safety Council Safety Research Info Serv
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Oct 17 1979 12:00AM