A new federal study will examine crash data to find common factors, such as road configurations, environmental conditions, and rider experience.

FHWA Begins 'Major Study' of Motorcycle Crashes

NHTSA and Oklahoma State University are the Federal Highway Administration's partners for the research, which will be the federal government's biggest study of motorcycle safety since 1981.

Now that motorcyclists are accounting for 14 percent of all traffic deaths, even as NHTSA reports total vehicles miles driven are falling and overall fatalities continue to drop, two DOT agencies and Oklahoma State University are beginning a major study to find out what's causing motorcycle crashes. The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) says this research will be the federal government's biggest study of motorcycle safety since 1981.

Nearly 5,300 motorcycle riders died in crashes in 2008, accounting for 14 percent of all traffic fatalities, and 96,000 were injured. "Having a better understanding of what causes these crashes will help us improve roadway safety for everyone," said FHWA Administrator Victor Mendez, who was director of the Arizona Department of Transportation until he became FHWA's administrator on July 17, 2009.

The university's Oklahoma Transportation Center is one of DOT's 10 National University Transportation Centers and gets federal grants to conduct transportation research. "OSU is delighted to be the lead research institution for this important study," said Dr. Alan Tree, associate dean for research in OSU’s College of Engineering, Architecture and Technology. "We expect very significant, scientifically valid results to emerge from this work and look forward to a very positive final outcome."

The research will examine crash data to find common factors, such as road configurations, environmental conditions, and riders' experience.

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