IIHS Petitions NHTSA to Update Federal Motorcycle Safety Standards

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), along with the Highway Loss Data Institute, recently petitioned the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to update the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS) that apply to motorcycle braking systems. Specifically, the IIHS asked the NHTSA to require antilock braking systems on all new motorcycles sold in the U.S.

The purpose of the petition is to reduce the number of injuries and deaths suffered by motorcyclists on U.S. roads each year, according to the IIHS. A 2011 NHTSA study found that, while the rates of death and injury in nearly all types of motor vehicle accidents were declining in the United States, the rates of death and injury in motorcycle crashes were climbing. Consequently, agencies like the NHTSA and IIHS—as well as many experienced San Jose motorcycle accident attorneys—have taken a particular interest in improving motorcycle safety.

The IIHS’s petition is based on a study of motorcycle braking conditions performed by the IIHS. The study found that during an emergency situation, motorcyclists often hesitated to apply full force to their brakes, even when doing so could prevent a crash, due to the dangers posed by motorcycle brake lock up. The study also found that antilock brakes on motorcycles reduced the risk of a fall by 31 percent, even when the rider braked as hard as possible. The NHTSA has not yet responded to the petition.