Fatal Motorcycle Crashes and Drunk Driving
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there were 4,675 motorcycle operators that were killed in traffic crashes in 2018. Alcohol was involved in over a quarter of these accidents. Of those killed, 1,213 (twenty-six percent) had a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 percent or higher.
Motorcycle drivers had the highest percentage of “alcohol-impaired drivers” compared to drivers of other vehicles, as noted by NHTSA. Additionally, over half of the motorcycle operators that had a BAC of over 0.08 percent and were killed were 40 or older.
Risks for Motorcycle Drivers
Compared to other drivers, motorcyclists are substantially more likely to be killed in a traffic accident. As reported in NHTSA’s crash facts, “motorcyclist fatalities occurred nearly 27 times more frequently than passenger car occupant fatalities in traffic crashes.”
More motorcyclists involved in a fatal traffic accident were more likely to be under the influence of alcohol at night than they were during the day. Riders were three times more likely to be under the influence at night compared to during day time.
Motorcyclists were also less likely to be wearing a helmet if they were under the influence of alcohol compared to those that were not. 53 percent of motorcycle riders killed in traffic accidents who were under the influence of alcohol were wearing a helmet, compared to 67 percent who had consumed no alcohol.
Driving under the influence of alcohol is dangerous regardless of the kind of vehicle that you are in, but motorcyclists may be at the greatest risk for serious injury or death. Motorcyclists are more exposed than other drivers and have less protection. Alcohol can impair a motorcyclist’s judgment as well as the judgment of other drivers. It is always best to choose to drive sober.