The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) Motorcycle Crash Causation Study (MCCS) is the most comprehensive data collection effort to study the causes of motorcycle crashes in the United States in more than 30 years.
The dataset includes data from at least 351 crash investigations, and 702 control rider interviews.
- Partners from Federal agencies, State departments of transportation (DOTs), local police jurisdictions, and the motorcycle industry are supporting the effort with high expectations for its value in improving motorcycle safety.
- Data collection is complete. The Final Report of the study and the Volumes 1 and 2 are available for download:
The MCCS is the most comprehensive data collection effort to investigate the causes, rider demographics, and opportunities for countermeasure development in the United States in more than 30 years. The data collection and documentation are complete, and the data set is derived from both actual motorcycle crashes and riders with similar risk characteristics; data focuses on the unique circumstances that caused motorcycle crashes. This dataset will offer unmatched perspective into the role of crash-causation factors that are specific to motorcycles and will be used to develop effective countermeasures, craft future safety standards, and reduce the risk of fatalities and injuries for motorcycle riders across the United States.
Figure 1. An investigator examines a motorcycle
In 2009, there were 4,462 motorcycle crash-related fatalities in the United States—more than twice the number of motorcycle rider fatalities that occurred in 1997. This increase contrasts with a 27-percent reduction in the number of fatalities in passenger cars and light trucks. In response to this growing concern, the U.S. Congress passed legislation to fund an FHWA research effort into the causes of motorcycle crashes in the United States.
Figure 2. The number of traffic fatalities and motorcycle fatalities in the United States from 1997 to 2011 (Fatal Accident Reporting System, 2011).
The MCCS team was comprised of some of the most experienced motorcycle and crash data collection experts in the world. The study was led by Oklahoma State University (OSU) through the Southern Plains Transportation Center. Oklahoma State University worked with Dynamic Science, Inc., Westat, Inc., Dynamic Research, Inc., Collision and Injury Dynamics, Inc., and consultant James Ouellet to develop effective data collection methods, provide investigator training, and ensure the quality of data collected. In addition, the MCCS used an internationally recognized crash investigation method known as the OECD protocol (developed by Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development). The depth and completeness of the project has led to broad support from Federal Government agencies and other stakeholders.