Study objective: To provide a population-based injury and cost profile for motorcycle injury in Connecticut.
Design: Population-based retrospective epidemiologic review of Connecticut death certificates, hospital discharge data, and police accident reports.
Results: Connecticut death certificates identified 112 deaths from motorcycle injuries for an annual death rate of 1.2 per 100,000 persons. Death rates were highest among 20- to 24-year-old men. Nonhelmeted motorcyclists were 3.4-fold more likely to die than were helmeted riders (P less than .05). An estimated 2,361 motorcycle-related hospital discharges resulted in an annual hospitalization rate of 24.7 per 100,000 persons. Head, neck, and spinal injuries accounted for 22% of all injuries. Total costs exceeded $29 million; 29% of hospitalized patients were uninsured, and 42% of the cost was not reimbursed to the hospitals.
Conclusion: Motorcycle injuries contribute significantly to Connecticut's mortality, morbidity, and medical costs. Our study suggests that a uniform helmet law would save an estimated ten lives and prevent more than 90 nonfatal injuries in Connecticut each year at a cost savings to the state of $5.1 million. These data are crucial in advocating re-enactment of motorcycle helmet laws.