Government Accession No.
Recipient's Catalog No.
Title and Subtitle
Evaluation of the Repeal of Motorcycle
in Kentucky and Louisiana
Performing Organization Code
R.G. Ulmer and D.F. Preusser
Performing Organization Report No.
Performing Organization Name and Address
Preusser Research Group, Inc.
7100 Main Street
Trumbull, CT 06611
Work Unit No. (TRAIS)
Contract or Grant No.
Sponsoring Agency Name and Address
U.S. Department of Transportation
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
400 Seventh Street, S.W.
Washington, D.C. 20590
Type of Report and Period Covered
Sponsoring Agency Code
Dr. Linda Cosgrove served as the
NHTSA Contracting Officer's Technical Representative for the study.
We appreciate the guidance and support she provided.
The 1998 universal motorcycle helmet
law repeal in Kentucky and the 1999 repeal in Louisiana produced
similar effects. Observed helmet use dropped from nearly full compliance
under the laws to the 50 percent range without the laws. Motorcyclist
fatalities increased in the near term by sizeable amounts-by over
50 percent in Kentucky and by 100 percent in Louisiana. Injuries
also increased substantially in both states. At
the same time, the number of registered motorcycles increased (by
20%), and vehicle miles traveled increased by approximately 6% (based
on national numbers). Thus, some of the increase in fatalities in
Kentucky and Louisiana were probably due to increased exposure.
motorcyclists killed per 10,000 registered motorcycles averaged
6.4 in the two years just before the helmet law repeal and averaged
8.8 in the two years following its repeal, an increase of +37.5
percent. Persons injured per 10,000 registered motorcycles averaged
187 in the preceding two years and averaged 219 in the two years
following its repeal, an increase of +17 percent. In
Louisiana, the fatality rate averaged 4.5 in the two years prior
to helmet law repeal and rose to 7.9 in the year following, an increase
of +75 percent. The injury rate averaged 126 persons in the two
years before the helmet law repeal and increased to 152 persons
in the year following repeal of the universal motorcycle helmet
law, an increase of +20.6 percent. For comparison purposes, the
national fatality rate per 10,000 registered motorcycles increased
18% and injuries declined by 2.9%.
18. Distribution Statement
Motorcycle helmet laws. Document is
available through the
Helmet use. National Technical Information
Motorcycle fatalities and injuries.
Springfield, VA 22161
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