Illinois Motorcycle Riding After Drinking

Alcohol-Impaired Motorcycle Riding Statistics

Motorcyclist drunk driving (and other alcohol-impaired riding) continues to be highly dangerous for Illinois motorcycle riders, as seen in a variety of statistics for the state as well as nationally.

As seen in the StartSeeingMotorcycles.org document titled “2012 Motorcycle Fatalities“:

  • 59 (42%) of the 141 motorcycle operators killed in 2012 had been drinking (positive BAC). Their BAC results ranged from 0.01 to 0.30, with the average BAC being 0.14. Of the 59 operators killed who had been drinking, 47 (80%) had a BAC greater than or equal to 0.08.
  • Of the 141 motorcycle operators killed, those age 30-44 had a higher percentage of alcohol-related crash involvement than those in other age groups. 52% of the 30-44 year old operators who died had a positive BAC, compared with 37% for those age 29 and younger, and 37% for those age 45 and older. Of the 30-44 age group who had been drinking, 39% had a BAC greater than or equal to 0.08.

Other Illinois statistics also indicate the extent of alcohol-impaired motorcycle riding.   Various statistics regarding motorcycle riding fatal crashes are presented in the “2012 Illinois Crash Facts and Statistics,”(pdf) including that motorcycle operators accounted for 14.7% of the alcohol-related fatalities in 2012.

From a national perspective, the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), in its “Impaired Driving” document, indicates that three groups are most at risk for driving while intoxicated.  These three groups are:

  • Young people
  • Motorcyclists
  • Drivers with prior driving while impaired (DWI) convictions

Statistics and commentary regarding these groups is provided.  Of particular note is a comment made with regard to motorcycle fatalities tied to riding while intoxicated:

Among motorcyclists killed in fatal crashes in 2012, 29% had BACs of 0.08% or greater

Effects Of Alcohol On Motorcycle Riding Ability

One critical issue is the impact alcohol consumption has on a person’s ability to ride a motorcycle.   A CDC document titled “Effects Of Blood Alcohol Concentration,” examines the effects of various levels of blood alcohol concentration (BAC) on the physical impact it has on a person as well as the impact on a person’s ability to drive.  While no impact is provided with regard to alcohol’s negative impact on the ability to operate a motorcycle, the impact on driving a car is notable.  For instance, for a BAC of .15% the effect on driving is listed as:

Substantial impairment in vehicle control, attention to driving task, and in necessary visual and auditory information processing

At this .15% level, the physical effects include “Major loss of balance,” which would seem highly relevant with regard to the ability to successful ride a motorcycle.

Other Motorcycle Riding Safety Topics

Other motorcycle riding safety topics can be found on this site under the “Motorcycle Rider Safety” category as well as the “Motorcycle Safety Resources” page.