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Motorcycle fatalities on rise; helmet laws repealed

Thomas Hargrove of Scripps Howard News Service studied records provided by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration and found "deaths in U.S. motorcycle crashes have nearly doubled in a decade, mounting to 4,000 annually, as more states have repealed mandatory helmet safety laws." The analysis of 2004 federal accident data showed that "the per capita rate of motorcycle fatalities in 2004 was 41 percent greater in states that do not require helmets for adult motorcyclists." The story notes that motorcyclists have "formed powerful state and national lobbies, persuaded Congress to muzzle federal highway safety experts and convinced lawmakers in 30 states to roll back their statutes." Hargrove also found that "an unusually large number of divorced middle-age men are dying in motorcycle accidents."

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