GAO: Motorcycle safety grants should be expanded

December 5, 2012

Washington – States should have more flexibility in how they use federal highway safety funding to reduce motorcycle crashes, according to a Government Accountability Office report (.pdf file) released Nov. 14.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration awarded $45.9 million in grants to states exclusively for motorcycle safety training and safety awareness efforts from fiscal years 2006 to 2012, the report states. GAO recommends these grants be expanded to allow states to fund other safety efforts identified as high priorities by NHTSA, such as increasing helmet use and educating law enforcement about motorcycle safety.

The report encourages additional research efforts aimed at implementing a three-step graduated licensing system for first-time motorcyclists that requires supervised cycling followed by restricted cycling before granting full licensure. According to the report, no states currently require graduated licensing for new motorcyclists. The Department of Transportation, which oversees NHTSA, agreed to consider the recommendations, GAO said in a press release.