Alcohol use, driver, and crash characteristics among injured motorcycle drivers

J Trauma. 1996 Dec;41(6):989-93. doi: 10.1097/00005373-199612000-00008.


Background: Motorcycle drivers have the highest frequency of alcohol use among all road users. This study examines alcohol use among a large sample of injured motorcycle drivers and examines how crash characteristics differ with the use of alcohol.

Methods: Over 3000 motorcycle drivers who crashed between January 1, 1991, and December 31, 1992, were studied. All fatally injured drivers in 11 California counties and a sample of nonfatally injured drivers treated in 28 hospitals were included in the study if a crash report and medical record were available.

Results: Among drivers tested for alcohol use, 42% tested positive for the presence of alcohol. Drinking drivers were more likely to be speeding and less likely to wear a helmet, and more frequently had single motorcycle crashes than nondrinking drivers. Crash characteristics, but not alcohol use, were predictive of increased injury severity.

Conclusions: Alcohol use remains a significant factor in motorcycle crashes and is an important area for injury prevention efforts.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Accidents, Traffic / mortality*
  • Accidents, Traffic / statistics & numerical data*
  • Adult
  • Alcohol Drinking / blood*
  • Alcohol Drinking / epidemiology
  • California / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Injury Severity Score
  • Male
  • Motorcycles*
  • Wounds and Injuries / blood*
  • Wounds and Injuries / epidemiology