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North Carolina helmet laws and motorcycle accident statistics

North Carolina law requires all motorcycle operators to wear helmets while riding their bikes anywhere in the state. Despite the increased danger, many North Carolina motorcyclists would prefer to ride without helmets. In fact, opponents to the North Carolina helmet law have attempted to derail that legislation every two years in the past decade. During a failed attempt to change the law in May 2013, it took a dozen emergency room doctors to convince the General Assembly to keep the helmet law in effect.

Let's take a look at the numbers. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there were 4,668 motorcyclist killed and 88,000 injured throughout the country in 2013. NHTSA says that motorcycle fatalities now account for 14 percent of all fatal vehicle accidents.

In perhaps the most convincing statistic, NHTSA estimates that in 2013, states that did not have universal helmet laws in place experienced 11 times as many unhelmeted motorcycle fatalities than states where helmets are required. More specifically, there were 1,704 unhelmeted fatalities in states with no helmet laws vs. 150 unhelmeted deaths in states requiring helmets.

Incidentally, the NHTSA statistics show that there has been a dramatic decrease in the amount of motorcycle fatalities for the demographic ages 50 to 69 years old. In 2013, that age group experienced 190 fewer motorcycle fatalities than the previous year or a 60 percent drop overall.

Despite where you stand on helmet laws, motorcycle accidents have the potential to kill or leave riders with serious injuries that may require lifelong medical care. If you have been a victim of a preventable motorcycle accident, you may be entitled to seek compensation. Your North Carolina personal injury attorney can help you review the particulars of your case and determine whether you should move forward with a motorcycle accident lawsuit.

If your case is successful, you may be able to recover money damages that can help you get the long-term care you might require.

Source: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, "Traffic Safety Facts" accessed Jan. 26, 2015

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