GAO Advises Greater Flexibility for States to Prevent Motorcycle Accidents

Approximately 4,500 people were killed in motorcycle accidents across the United States in 2011.  Those are high numbers, and the statistics have remained consistently high over the past decade, in spite of the fact that states like Pennsylvania do conduct regular motorcycle safety campaigns.  The Government Accountability Office is now advising that states be given greater flexibility in how they use their federal highway safety funding in order to prevent motorcycle accidents.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does help states implement motorcycle safety strategies, and provides states with training.  Between 2006 and 2012, the federal agency granted close to $46 million in motorcycle safety funding to states.  However, these funds can only be used in certain campaigns, like motorcyclist training and for education efforts targeting motorists. States that receive highway safety funding are limited by the kind of issues that they can spend this money on.

However, the Government Accountability Office wants that to change.   There are a number of other motorcycle safety strategies that are also proven to help reduce the number of motorcycle accidents.  For instance, promotion of helmet usage can encourage more motorcyclists to wear helmets, protecting them from serious or fatal head injuries during an accident.  Motorcyclists can benefit from greater safety training, and more education about how to prevent accidents.  For instance, motorcyclists can reduce their risks of an accident by being more conspicuous on the road, and federal safety funding can effectively be used to educate motorcyclists about reducing these risks.

According to the Government Accountability Office, expenses related to motorcycle accidents cost the US economy approximately $16 billion in 2010.  Those expenses can be reduced if the federal administration allows other motorcycle safety strategies to be financed by the federal safety funds.