The Motorcycle Crash Causation Study (MCCS) is the most comprehensive investigation into the causes, rider demographics, and opportunities for countermeasure development to be conducted in the United States in more than 30 years. When completed, a large and unique data set will be developed that is derived from both actual motorcycle crashes and riders with similar risk characteristics and will focus on the unique circumstances that produce motorcycle crashes. This will offer unmatched perspective into the role of crash-causation factors that are specific to motorcycles and will be used to develop effective countermeasures, craft future safety standards, and reduce the risk of fatalities and injuries for motorcycle riders across the United States.
Figure 1. An investigator examines a motorcycle
In 2009, there were 4,462 motorcycle crash-related fatalities in the United States—more than twice the number of motorcycle rider fatalities that occurred in 1997. This increase contrasts with a 27-percent reduction in the number of fatalities in passenger cars and light trucks. In response to this growing concern, the U.S. Congress passed legislation to fund a Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) research effort into the causes of motorcycle crashes in the United States.
Figure 2. The number of traffic fatalities and motorcycle fatalities in the United States from 1997 to 2011 (Fatal Accident Reporting System, 2011).
The MCCS team is comprised of some of the most experienced motorcycle and crash data collection experts in the world. The study is led by Oklahoma State University (OSU) through the Oklahoma Transportation Center. Oklahoma State University is working with Dynamic Science, Inc., Westat, Inc., Dynamic Research, Inc., Collision and Injury Dynamics, Inc., and consultant James Ouellet to develop effective data collection methods, provide investigator training, and ensure the quality of data collected. In addition, the MCCS is using an internationally recognized crash investigation method known as the OECD protocol (developed by Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development). The depth and completeness of the project has led to broad support from Federal Government agencies and other stakeholders.
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Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center
6300 Georgetown Pike
McLean, VA 22101-2296