On Wednesday, October 3rd, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) released its preliminary report on 2017 traffic fatalities. After two consecutive years of rising fatalities, 2017 saw a 1.1% decrease nationwide in overall traffic fatalities. Motorcycle fatalities, which also increased in both 2015 and 2016, saw a 3.1% decrease in 2017. That is certainly welcomed news.
It is important to point out that the report represents the preliminary data. We will be able to better identify trends and causative factors in the next couple of months after NHTSA releases its full report on traffic fatalities, as well as its annual report that specifically analyzes motorcycle crashes and fatalities. However, what we are once again seeing in this year’s preliminary report is that motorcycle fatalities continue to trend up or down with overall traffic fatalities. In 2017 motorcycle fatalities represented 14% of all traffic fatalities. That is where we have been for the past ten years regardless of increases or decreases in the number of traffic fatalities, changes in the number of registered motorcycles and other motor vehicles, or fluctuations in vehicle miles traveled.
When the additional reports are released in the upcoming months, we will report on their findings and compare those findings with past reports to identify crash and fatality trends, as well as causative factors contributing to both motorcycle crashes and fatalities. As always, if you have any questions or comments concerning this information or any other matter regarding either motorcycle safety or laws affecting riders, please feel free to contact me.
McGrath, Danielson, Sorrell & Fuller
The Motorcycle Law Group