Is it possible to apply lessons learned in the military to civilians? The US Air Force is reporting that they have experienced a dramatic reduction in motorcycle accident rates over the past decade. It is possible that the lessons learned by the military could be used to reduce accident rates amongst the civilian population as well.
Motorcycles in the Air Force
The Department of Defense estimates that approximately 22,000 Air Force personnel ride motorcycles. Over the past decade, the Air Force has experienced a 69% reduction in the number of motorcycle accident fatalities. While the number of fatalities represented a small focus group (13 in 2010, which dropped to four in 2019) the data holds valuable lessons.
First, in 2013, the Department of Defense implemented strict policies regarding motorcycle use. These policies included requirements for the successful completion of training courses and refresher training at various intervals. Riders are also required to wear helmets at all times while riding their motorcycles and wear protective clothing, including leather jackets and pads. These rules apply both on and off military property and supersede any state laws that allow riders to ride without a helmet.
Reducing Civilian Motorcycle Fatalities
In contrast to the declining rate of fatalities in the Air Force, civilian motorcycle fatality rates are increasing. From 2010 to 2019, the annual number of fatalities has increased from 4,295 to 5,286.
Most states require completion of a basic motorcycle safety class. Many also require special endorsements to the individual's drivers license to operate a motorcycle. However, there are no requirements for continued training or education. These are available, but they are optional. Many motorcyclists don't invest the time or resources to pursue them.
Further, only 19 states have helmet laws mandating helmet use. Most of the remaining states only require helmets for riders under the ages of 18 or 21. New Hampshire, Iowa, and Illinois have no helmet requirements at all.
Applying Lessons to Increase Safety for All
While the data from the Air Force represents a small subset of motorcycle riders, it does show that their policies are effectively reducing motorcycle accident rates. Widespread adoption of similar policies across the nation could have a similar effect on the national rates of motorcycle injuries and deaths. It's food for thought that could prompt legislators to take action when their respective legislative bodies reconvene in the coming year.
Call in the Bull to talk with a motorcycle accident lawyer about your injuries. Our team can help you pursue claims in Kansas, Illinois, Nebraska, Missouri, or Texas. You can call us at 1-800-241-BRAD, or call us on our local line at 316-684-4400 to speak with an attorney. You can reach Brad Pistotnik on his cell at 316-706-5020. You can call Tony Atterbury on his cell at 316-617-9237. You can call from Western Kansas at 620-THE-BULL.