Study: Double-digit rise in head injuries after Michigan helmet law repeal
November 21, 2016
Fewer motorcycle riders who are involved in crashes across the state of Michigan are wearing a helmet, and the state’s trauma centers have seen a 14 percent increase in head injuries among motorcyclists, since the state’s partial repeal of its universal helmet law in April 2012, a new study finds.
In addition, emergency physicians and trauma surgeons are seeing a shift in the types of head injuries resulting from motorcycle crashes, with the proportion due to mild concussions falling 17 percent, while the proportion due to skull fractures increasing 38 percent during the same time period.
This increase in overall head injuries was also associated with an increased need for costly hospital services, including invasive neurosurgical procedures necessary to treat serious head injuries.
The study was conducted by a team of researchers from the University of Michigan Injury Center, which is funded by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as well as the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). The study compared statewide rates of helmet use, fatalities, and serious head injuries for the 12-month periods before and after the repeal.
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Source: University of Michigan Health System
Photo credit: Joyce Daniels, UMTRI