Nashville Hospitals Seeing Increase in Motorcycle Accidents
With spring upon us and outdoor recreational activities starting back up, medical professionals at Vanderbilt Hospital and other trauma centers around Nashville are already seeing an increase in the number of motorcycle accidents on the roads. Just recently, trauma surgeons at Vanderbilt Hospital treated five motorcyclists for serious injuries, and sadly one driver did not survive.
Beginning of Trauma Season
In hospitals around Nashville, the spring season also brings about “trauma season,” which runs from around April through September. During this time, medical professionals in hospitals tend to see a 50 percent increase on average in the number of patients injured by major trauma, including patients involved in motorcycle accidents.
With the warm weather starting earlier this year, the increase in the number of motorcycle accidents began earlier, too. One doctor at Vanderbilt said that “the advent of warm weather rolls out many activities such as motorcycle and ATV riding and cycling that require attention to detail and essential safety gear . . . Do not forget to be attentive, and always wear helmets when riding.”
Tennessee Helmet Law
Despite the fact that multiple studies and decades of research show that helmets increase the chance of survival in motorcycle accidents, legislators in Tennessee are proposing a change to the current helmet laws that would make them optional for riders ages 21 years and older unless they are enrolled in the state’s Medicaid program. Medical professionals are concerned that if the law is passed, there will be an increase in the number of motorcyclist fatalities and medical costs across the state.
Kentucky passed an optional helmet law in 1998 that makes helmets optional for motorcyclists’ ages 21 years and older. Since then, the state has seen increase in motorcyclist deaths by more than 50 percent. In 2013, Kentucky had a total of 1,253 injuries and 79 deaths due to motorcycle accidents. Of those, 651 injured and 53 killed were not wearing a helmet.
Helmet Law Research
According to the National Highway Transportation and Safety Administration (NHTSA), 65 percent of motorcycle fatalities that occurred in 2011 involved drivers not wearing a helmet and in states with a universal helmet law only nine percent of motorcyclists killed were not wearing a helmet. The organization directly attributes 46 lives and $94 million in health care costs saved in Tennessee because of helmet use in 2010.
The NHTSA has also released reports saying that helmet use decreases the risk of death by 37 percent, reduces the risk of traumatic brain injury (TBI) by 65 percent, and saves nearly $3 billion each year in medical expenses. In 2010, the U.S. could have saved an additional $1.4 billion in health care costs if all motorcyclists were required to wear a helmet.
Call a Tennessee Motorcycle Attorney
If you or someone that you know has been injured in a motorcycle accident in the Nashville area, let the accident attorneys at Calhoun Law, PLC help. Call the office or contact us today for a free and private review of your case.