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Fatality Data Source: Queries of 2015 (ARF) NHTSA Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) September 2016 Release (Learn about some important limitations to FARS queries.)
1. Occupant (In or On Vehicle) Fatalities: Persons in or on a Vehicle-in-Transport
1A. Current Occupant (Motorcyclist) Fatality Data
1B. Historical Tables, Occupant (Motorcyclist) Fatality Data
2. Driver (Operator) Fatalities: Persons in or on, and operating the Vehicle-in-Transport. When combined with Vehicle Miles Traveled, this models both Driver Danger and Occupant Danger.
2A. Current Driver (Rider) Fatality Data
2B. Historical Tables, Driver (Rider) Fatality Data
3. Crash (Everybody) Fatalities: Includes Every Person (Everybody) who was and was not riding in or on a Vehicle-In-Transport, such as Drivers, Passengers and Pedestrians, Bicyclists, and every other person killed in crashes. When combined with Population, this models Societal Danger.
3A. Current Crash (Everybody) Fatality Data
3B. Historical Tables, Crash (Everybody) Fatality Data
3C. DangerOmeter! Measuring Societal Danger
Data Set 1A. Current2 Occupant (Motorcyclist) Fatality Data: Persons5 in or on a Vehicle-in-Transport (VIT)
Motorcyclists are the Occupants or “Persons” riding on Motorcycles-in-Transport.
During 2014, 62% of Motorcyclists (Occupants) Killed were wearing helmets .pdf (or download .xlsx), and during 2014, 69% of Motorcyclists (Occupants) observed riding were wearing helmets.pdf The percent ratio, 62% helmeted-killed / 69% helmeted-riding, is 0.9 < 1. In other words, the percent of motorcyclists killed and wearing a helmet is less than the percent riding and wearing a helmet. Because the percent ratio is less than 1, we can state scientifically, “Helmet use for fatality reduction is supported by this data.” However, “We expected that the number of motorcyclists killed while wearing helmets would have been less than 62%.”
Data Set 1B. Historical Tables4 and Chart, Occupant (Motorcyclist) Fatalities 19911– Current2 :
Historical Chart: USA Motorcycle Driver and Passenger (Motorcyclist) Fatalities 1991-2015
Data Set 2A. Current2 Driver (Rider) Fatality Data
Persons in or on, and operating the Vehicle-in-Transport. When combined with Vehicle Miles Traveled, this models both Driver Danger and Occupant Danger.
2014 USA Motorcycle, Passenger Vehicle, and All Other Driver Fatalities from Crashes Involving one (or more) Vehicles-In-Transport and Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT)
2011-2014 Motorcycle Driver Fatalities and Population, Grouped by License Status and Compliance Webpage
Most motorcycle drivers killed have their state’s motorcycle endorsement.
Data Set 2B. Historical Tables4 , Driver (Rider) Fatalities 19911– Current2 By State:
Motorcycle Driver Fatalities, 1991-2015, by State or Download .xlxs Spreadsheet
Passenger Vehicle3 Driver Fatalities, 1991-2015, by State or Download .xlxs Spreadsheet
Data Set 3A. Current2 Crash (Everybody) Fatality Data: Includes Every Person (Everybody) who was and was not riding in or on a Vehicle-In-Transport, such as Drivers, Passengers and Pedestrians, Bicyclists, and every other person killed in crashes. When combined with Population, this models Societal Danger.
Data Set 3B. Historical Charts and Tables4 , Crash (Everybody) Fatality, 19911– Current2 By State:
Motorcycle Fatalities Everybody, 1991-2015, by State in Motorcycle Crashes, by State Download .xlxs Spreadsheet
Passenger Vehicle Fatalities Everybody, 1991-2015, by State in Passenger Vehicle Crahses, by State Download .xlxs Spreadsheet
Data Set 3C. DangerOmeter! Measuring Societal Danger:
This is the most important of the measures of danger for a given motor vehicle body type. Every person who is killed was a part of the population. We call it “Societal Danger.” The fatalities include occupants (drivers and passengers), pedestrians, bicyclists, and all others fatally injured in crashes on public roadways by the particular vehicle body type chosen.
By considering Fatalities (Everybody) and Population, we can make scientific comparisons between states. We can rank the states by motorcycle danger weighted with the states’ passenger vehicle danger. In other words, we expect that if a state has a “culture of safety” such as a good road system that reduces collisions between all vehicles, that state should have a lower motorcycle collision rate as well. This can be measured. We call it the NMI DangerOmeter.
For a summary of the limitations of the data bases, please see this slide stack: Summary Presentation for understanding and translating your terms to FARS
1. Why does NMI historical data start with the year 1991, and not earlier?
NHTSA’s Fatal Accident Reporting System (FARS) is the most complete database of motor vehicle fatalities available. The rules for data are defined by the FARS Encyclopedia and manuals, which occasionally are revised in response to changing technology and social pressures. In 1991, FARS changed the definitions for Motorcycles and for Passenger Vehicles. The 1991 revision makes it very cumbersome to compare current data to pre-1991 data. Fortunately, 1991-2016 is enough time (25 years) to detect trends. Because of revisions of the definitions in the FARS query elements, such as the 1991 revision for vehicle body-types, we caution readers against looking for trends in motorcycle fatality data going back farther than 1991. Please see this FARS Manual Table for reference.
1993 is an important start date for license status and compliance comparisons. In 2004 there wa an additional major refinement. FARS began recording License compliance for motorcycle drivers in 1988. A major revision was implemented in 1993. This is why we start with 1993 data for any charts or tables that involve license compliance. Please see this FARS element definition for License Status (D7) and License Compliance (D10).
2. Latest FARS Release is 2015 ARF 2014 FINAL (Released September 2016). 2016 data will be published in FARS by December 2017.
3. Why does NMI use the Passenger Vehicle Data as a control for historical comparisons instead of Registrations or Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT)? In 2011 NHTSA changed the way registrations and VMT were calculated. NHTSA and the FARS Encyclopedia give explicit warning not to make historical comparisons between pre 2011 and post 2011. There are other concerns we have with historical registration data, however, we have a high confidence in the veracity of all the fatality data counts for passenger vehicle crashes and motorcycle crashes. Please see this FARS Encyclopedia Warning for reference.
4. The last major set of changes in the FARS was in 2012. Even the way the FARS data queries are selected were changed. Please scrutinize any queries data before 2012 to be sure of what is being presented. Technology and social changes, and what information is reported to NHTSA and the FARS, change over the decades. The essence of these changes over time are what create the need to further change and update definitions in the FARS Encyclopedia. For other examples, such as major changes in 1993 and 2004 for the License Status element, please see this FARS element definition for License Status (D7) and License Compliance (D10).
Source: Queries of 2015 (ARF) NHTSA Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) September 2016 Release
Definition Explanation: The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) data base is used for all fatality counts. A request for a particular data set from the data base is called a query. The query element “Person Type” refers to all persons riding within or upon a vehicle. NHTSA uses the term “Motorcyclists” to refer to persons who are “Passengers and Drivers (or all Occupants) riding upon the motorcycle-in-transport.” When discussing fatality data, we suggest, using the terms, “Motorcycle Driver” and “Motorcycle Passenger,” instead of the ambiguous term “Motorcyclist.” While discussing fatality data, using terms that correspond to the FARS query elements will make it clear which persons are being counted: drivers, passengers, or occupants, on or in the vehicle-in-transport. Then direct comparisons of motorcycle to passenger vehicle data (drivers, passengers, occupants, and all-fatalities counts) will be clearly understandable. For more definitions and explanation of terms, please see: Definition of Terms on our Science Page.