How Effective Are Motorcycle Helmets at Preventing Deaths in Texas?

It’s common sense that wearing a helmet reduces the risk of death or serious head injuries in the event of a motorcycle accident.  The better question is, to what extent?  Our Dallas motorcycle accident lawyers examine Texas motorcycle fatality and injury statistics to find answers.

Statistics on Helmet Use in Texas Motorcycle Accident Deaths and Injuries

Every year, the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) publishes updated statistics on the auto accidents that occurred throughout the state.  These statistics are broken down into individual reports on different types of data, such as fatalities by county, crash contributing factors, drunk driving accidents, and, as our motorcycle crash attorneys will be focusing on in this article, motorcycle injuries and fatalities with and without helmet use.
Unfortunately, as of January TxDOT has yet to publish their data on 2016.  However, we can still look to the 2015 statistics for fairly recent information about Texas motorcycle accidents without helmets.
The statistics below apply only to drivers and exclude passengers, who, by comparison, represent a very small portion of the fatalities and injuries caused by motorcycle crashes in Texas.

  • Helmet – 194
  • No Helmet – 225
  • Helmet Unknown – 17
  • Total Fatalities – 436
  • Percent with Helmet – 44.5%
  • Percent without Helmet – 51.6%

Incapacitating Injuries

  • Helmet – 824
  • No Helmet – 791
  • Helmet Unknown – 93
  • Total Incapacitating Injuries – 1,708
  • Percent with Helmet – 48.2%
  • Percent without Helmet – 46.3%

Non-Incapacitating Injuries

  • Helmet – 1,696
  • No Helmet – 1,177
  • Helmet Unknown – 182
  • Total Non-Incapacitating Injuries – 3,055
  • Percent with Helmet – 55.5%
  • Percent without Helmet – 38.5%

Possible Injuries

  • Helmet – 984
  • No Helmet – 588
  • Helmet Unknown – 127
  • Total Possible Injuries – 1,699
  • Percent with Helmet – 57.9%
  • Percent without Helmet – 34.6%

No Injuries

  • Helmet – 694
  • No Helmet – 401
  • Helmet Unknown – 106
  • Total Non-Injuries – 1,201
  • Percent with Helmet – 57.8%
  • Percent without Helmet – 33.4%

As you can see from this data (which can be viewed in full here through the TxDOT website), injuries tended to be non-existent or at least less serious in categories where more people wore helmets than not.  For example, nearly two thirds of the people in the group with no injuries were wearing helmets, compared to only about a third who did not.  Similarly, more than half of the non-incapacitating injuries involved riders with helmets, but the gap was much smaller for incapacitating injuries.
When it came to fatal accidents, unhelmeted riders outnumbered drivers who wore helmets.  Motorcyclists without helmets accounted for more than half of Texas’ motorcycle fatalities in 2015, while less than 45% were wearing helmets at the time of the fatal crash.
Of course, these patterns are not unique to the state of Texas, but can be clearly observed in accident trends nationwide.  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which draws on data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), a 2009 study published in the Journal of Public Health Policy, and other sources, helmets effectively:

  • Reduce the risk of motorcycle head injuries by 69%
  • Reduce the risk of motorcycle fatalities by 37%

While the original source of the 37% statistic was an NHTSA report from 2005, the figure was still accurate a decade later according to an NHTSA update published in October 2015 (which can be viewed in full here).  As the report also noted, “In 2013, an estimated 1,630 lives were saved in the United States by motorcycle helmets,” while “an estimated 715 additional fatalities could have been prevented if all motorcyclists had worn helmets” that year.

Dallas Motorcycle Accident Lawyers Serving Texas Motorcyclists and Residents

Wearing a helmet can dramatically reduce your risk of being injured or killed in a motorcycle accident.  Unfortunately, even when motorcyclists do wear helmets and take other safety precautions, injuries and fatalities are still common accident outcomes.  In fact, according to the Insurance Information Institute, “In 2014, motorcyclists were 27 times more likely than passenger car occupants to die in a crash per vehicle mile traveled, and almost five times more likely to be injured.”
If one of your family members suffered a brain injury, bone fracture, back injury, neck injury (“whiplash”), or other type of injury due to a motorcycle crash in Dallas, Houston, Irving, Fort Worth, or Arlington, or if you lost a loved one in a fatal accident, the Dallas wrongful death attorneys of Queenan Law can fight for justice and compensation on your family’s behalf.  We have over 20 years of experience fighting to hold negligent drivers and auto parts manufacturers accountable for their dangerous, careless actions.
At Queenan Law, a Dallas personal injury attorney can represent bikers and motorcyclists throughout the many Texas communities we serve.  To discuss you or your loved one’s motorcycle accident claim in a free and confidential legal consultation, call Queenan Law at (817) 476-1797.