As reported by Fox News Latino, a new government report issued by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) shows that the direct costs of motorcycle accident-related injuries and deaths totaled $16 billion in 2010. However, the full cost is likely higher because long term medical expenses are more difficult to calculate. The GAO report states that motorcyclists are involved in fatal crashes at higher rates than drivers of other motor vehicles and alarmingly are 30 times more likely to die in a traffic accident than passenger car occupants.

The GAO report states that there were 82,000 injuries and 4,502 fatalities that occurred during 2010. The average cost of a fatal motorcycle collision was estimated at $1.2 million, while the cost of injuries ranged from $2,500 to $1.4 million depending on the severity.

The government report, published in a November report for congressional committees, also says laws requiring motorcyclists to wear helmets, or universal helmet laws, are the only strategy proven effective in reducing injuries and fatalities. Several research studies have estimated that helmets reduce the risk of death by as much as 39 percent, and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimated that helmets saved the lives of 1,550 riders in 2010.

Presently, only 19 states have universal helmet laws and another 28 states have “partial” helmet laws requiring only some motorcyclists to wear helmets, which are usually riders under the age of 21 or 18. There has been strong opposition to universal helmet laws by some motorcycle groups. For example, the president of the Motorcycle Riders Foundation (MRF) stresses that educating other motorists to look out for riders and teaching motorcyclists how to ride safely is the “ultimate solution for saving lives.”

However, the president of Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, which supports mandatory helmet laws, does assert that education is not a substitute for wearing a helmet.

A motorcycle accident can have a number of causes, but no matter the cause the results are likely to be catastrophic for those involved. If you are a Maryland resident that has been harmed due to the careless actions of another person, motorcycle accident lawyer Steven H. Heisler can provide the legal representation you need to get compensation for your injuries and hold at-fault parties responsible for their actions.

To discuss your case, call (877) 228-4878 to schedule a consultation.