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CHANDLER, Ariz. (January 28, 2019) – Trauma surgeons at Dignity Health Chandler Regional Medical Center are encouraging greater roadway safety and awareness in hopes of curbing the rising number of devastating injuries related to motorcycle and motor vehicle accidents. Motorcycle and motor vehicle injuries are the most frequent injury seen in the hospital’s Level-I Trauma Center, which treats some of the Valley’s most critically injured patients.
“Currently in Arizona, only motorcycle operators and riders under 18 must wear a helmet. This is one of the problems we hope to change,” says Wendy Otten, RN, Chandler Regional’s trauma program manager, who also serves on the executive board for Arizona Motorcycle Safety and Awareness Foundation (AMSAF). “However, it’s not the only problem facing motorcyclists today. One of the things that people don’t realize is that these accidents aren’t always the motorcyclist’s fault. Distracted driving is an increasing problem, so we also urge our community members to understand that everyone on our roadways needs to be extra aware of their surroundings, share the road, and remember that their cell phones can wait.”
The number of distracted driving wrecks and deaths have skyrocketed over the years. Statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration note that nationwide in 2015, distracted driving was responsible for nearly 3,500 deaths, more than 3,000 fatal car wrecks and 391,000 injuries.
Motorcycling also continues to soar in popularity both as a recreational activity and an everyday mode of transportation, with more than 206,000 registered motorcycles in Arizona. According to the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety, Arizona averages more than 3,000 motorcycle crashes each year and approximately 130 motorcycle involved fatalities.
“We see far too many motorcycle-involved deaths and car wreck-related injuries that could have been prevented. In fact, we estimate having treated an average of one motorcycle injury-related death per month in 2018,” says Charles Hu, MD, Chandler Regional’s trauma director. “Clearly, there is a crucial need for both roadway safety and motorcycle awareness.”
Chandler Regional and AMSAF share the same goal of providing community education to promote motorcycle safety and help reduce crashes, injuries and fatalities in Arizona.