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Alcohol: the scourge of motorcyclist-related deaths

Compared with other drivers involved in fatal motor vehicle accidents, motorcyclists have the highest percentage of being drunk. That’s right. People who drink and drive must learn that their actions may lead to tragedy. Motorcyclists, especially, need to remember this and to please take better precautions.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration continues to compile statistics that are eye-opening, alarming and tragic. Sadly, alcohol continues to play a factor in the motorcycle-related accidents, injuries and deaths reported nationwide.

A quarter of motorcyclists who died on roads were drunk

Here’s a breakdown by types of vehicle and their percentage of road fatalities attributed to alcohol:

  • Motorcycles: 25 percent
  • Passenger cars: 21 percent
  • Light trucks: 20 percent
  • Large trucks: 2 percent

Of the 4,950 motorcycle riders who died in 2016 in traffic accidents, 25 percent or 1,259 were drunk – having a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08 percent or more. But another 7 percent or 355 had some form of alcohol in their systems. That adds up to 32 percent of motorcycle drivers killed with alcohol levels in their systems.

Alabama’s numbers are on par with the country’s. One-quarter of the 96 motorcycle-related fatalities in the state in 2016 were attributed to drunk drivers, and another 7 percent of the drivers had BAC levels of 0.01 to 0.07 percent.

Highest percentage of drunk fatalities: 35 to 39 age group

Here are some other statistics to ponder:

  • A total of 37 percent of motorcyclists who died in single-vehicle accidents in 2016 were drunk.
  • Motorcyclists killed while driving at night were three times more likely to be drunk than riders killed during the daytime. That’s 40 percent of night-time riders, compared with 12 percent of the daytime riders.
  • At 38 percent, the 35 to 39 age group accounted for the highest percentage of fatalities attributed to drunk driving. The 45 to 49 age group ranked second with 37 percent, and the 40 to 44 age group ranked third with 32 percent.

While excessive speed, driver inexperience, the lack of a helmet, distracted driving, and errors caused by other drivers are other causes for motorcycle accidents and fatalities, we cannot overlook the role alcohol has played. Please stay safe while driving this summer season, and don’t drink and drive.

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