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.