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Motorcycle Helmet Use in Hawaii (Helmet optional law) and Related Mortalities

1 August 2006


Background: Sales of new on-road motorcycles increased substantially throughout recent years. As gas prices continue to increase in the U.S., more people are turning to other alternatives means of transportation such as motorcycles. In Hawaii, motorcycles sales and riders steadily increased over the past 5 years due to same reasons nationally of increasing gas prices and popularity in the media. Hypothesis: This author believes that the death rate of motorcyclists in Hawaii will be either equivalent or higher to the national average due to their current law of helmet use for motorcyclist. Methods: A retrospective chart review of public data that has been acquired from Fatal Analysis Reporting System of National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration. Results: In the period from 1995 - 2004, there were 193 total deaths attributed to motorcycles crashes in Hawaii with no trend in the annual numbers, the highest in fatalities occurring in 2002. One hundred Thirty-nine of decedents of motorcycle crashes were not wearing a helmet at the time of the crash. Most of the crashes occurred during the time of day between 4 pm - 12 midnight. Alcohol use was prevalent over a third of the motorcycle crashes. Conclusion: This study finds that through in-depth statistical analysis of fatalities retrieved by the FARS through NHTSA, fatalities in Hawaii have been at a high rate. One can infer from the data that one of the major reasons resulting to this high fatality rate is because of the majority of the decedents was not wearing a helmet at the time of the crash.


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