Chest Trauma and Fatalities in Motorcycle Road Crashes

There have been more motorcyclists on the road in many countries over the last few decades. This has led to an increase in severe collisions and rider morbidity and mortality. There have been improvements in helmet technologies and better helmet wearing strategies that have reduced the incidence of serious injuries to the head. Now, chest trauma is surpassing head injuries and is the most serious injury seen in motorcyclists. Unfortunately, few changes have been made to change the situation when it comes to chest injuries.

A new study has looked at finding the needed information to help reduce the incidence of thoracic trauma to motorcyclists. In addition, the article looked at helping motorcycle advocates and road officials to develop ideas and put them in motion so that motorcyclists can be safer. Police and hospital data were compiled. The study looked at nearly 20,000 hospital records on motorcycles and looked at all of the particulars of the incidents. It was found that the incidence of severe chest trauma has more than doubled in the past 2 decades and they comprise 3.2 percent of all registered vehicles. One fourth of all serious chest trauma cases in the hospital have come from motorcyclists. There was an even mixture between fixed object crashes and non-collision crashes. More older riders suffered from chest trauma when compared to younger drivers.

Another study looked at which factors played into motorcycle fatalities. Factors included gender, age of rider, licensing status, use of helmet, vehicle class, alcohol use, passenger injuries, and road conditions. What they found was that more motorcyclists died if they were older, male, not wearing a helmet, were driving a heavy vehicle, didn’t have a license, and were riding after a drinking episode. Nighttime, rural, and single vehicle accidents result in a higher rate of death. Drivers on the motorcycle alone were more likely to die when compared to those carrying passengers. Serious injuries were more likely to result in death. Nearly 60 percent of all fatalities amongst drivers were motorcyclists. The rider age at time of death was above 60 years, driving after drinking was a factor and not wearing a helmet all were things that could be changed so as to decrease the motorcycle fatalities.

There has been an increase in motorcycle deaths in California, mostly with regard to drivers under the age of 24 and drivers aged 45-54. Another study looked at the factors that play out in motorcycle fatalities and looked at possible interventions. It was lack of helmet use, drug or alcohol use, being ejected, having certain kinds of collisions and involvement in truck accidents played a role in having a fatal accident. Two factors, such as running off the road and having multi-vehicle accidents increase the risk of accident fatalities among older victims. Road conditions didn’t seem to be a factor in having a fatality.

Researchers felt that public education regarding alcohol use would be effective, as well as promoting helmet use and cracking down on reducing speed violations on heavy vehicles, having street lighting systems improved, and improving motorcyclist training.

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