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Traffic Inj Prev. 2014;15(7):678-84. doi: 10.1080/15389588.2013.866235.

Associations between drug use and motorcycle helmet use in fatal crashes.

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  • 1a Department of Behavioral and Community Health , University of North Texas Health Science Center , Fort Worth , Texas.



Helmet use reduces mortality risk for motorcyclists, regardless of drug and alcohol use. However, the association between drug use and motorcycle helmet utilization is not well known. This study examines the relationship between drug use and motorcycle helmet use among fatally injured motorcycle riders.


Using data from the 2005-2009 Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS), we examined the association between drug use and motorcycle helmet use in a multivariable logistic regression analysis of 9861 fatally injured motorcycle riders in the United States.


For fatally injured motorcycle riders, use of alcohol, marijuana, or other drugs was associated with increased odds of not wearing a motorcycle helmet, controlling for the effects of state motorcycle helmet laws and other confounding variables. Predicted probabilities indicate that helmet use substantially decreases among fatally injured riders mixing alcohol with marijuana and other drugs. Furthermore, the likelihood of helmet use between marijuana-only users and other drug users is virtually the same across all blood alcohol content (BAC) levels.


This study provides evidence that alcohol, marijuana, and other drug use is associated with not wearing a motorcycle helmet in fatal motorcycle crashes. There is a clear need for additional prevention and intervention efforts that seek to change helmet and drug use norms among motorcycle riders.


alcohol drinking; drugs; helmets; marijuana; motorcycles

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