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Robert Longley

Motorcycle Helmets Added to NTSB 'Most Wanted' List

By November 19, 2010

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Motorcycle Helmets for All States

Adding the issue to its "Most Wanted List of Transportation Safety," the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has called on all states to adopt laws requiring all motorcycle riders to wear government-approved helmets.

The "Most Wanted List" is the federal government initiative to encourage state governments to adopt laws and programs the NTSB believes will significantly improve transportation safety.

In its latest annual update of the Most Wanted list, the NTSB added motorcycle safety, while dropping recreational boating safety; an area in which it found substantial progress has been made.

"From 1997 through 2008, the number of motorcycle fatalities more than doubled during a period when overall highway fatalities declined. Although the number of motorcycle fatalities fell in 2009, the 4,400 deaths still outnumber those in aviation, rail, marine and pipeline combined," stated the NTSB in a press release.

According to the Department of Transportation (DOT), head injury remains the leading cause of death in motorcycle crashes. As a result, the NTSB recommended that all states require all persons riding on motorcycles - drivers and passengers - to wear helmets that comply with DOT's Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 218.

Currently, 20 states, the District of Columbia and 4 territories have universal helmet laws that apply to all riders. Twenty- seven states and one territory have partial laws that require minors and/or passengers to wear helmets. Three states - Iowa, Illinois and New Hampshire - have no helmet laws.

Also See: Federalism: Powers of Federal and State Governments

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November 23, 2010 at 5:27 pm
(1) jed says:

i would love to see mandatory motorcycle helmet laws. we have too many folks suffering head injuries, some of whom don’t make it and the rest become too disabled, as it is. it seems the motorcycle rider has a much higher chance of suffering injury if he is hit than if he was to hit me while driving my car. our fl governor bush signed a law years ago which removed wearing the helmet a requirement, which i could never understand.

November 24, 2010 at 2:19 am
(2) Mimi Jordan says:

The biggest objection people I know have to wearing helmets is that they restrict the riders’ visual field. Can’t someone come up with a helmet made with transparent “space age” materials so people will be more inclined to use them instead of another micro-management law that many people are going to either resent or ignire? This country should protect our young people, but adults should be allowed to make their own decisions.

May 20, 2011 at 7:02 pm
(3) KrashTestDumby says:

It’s obvious: the NHTSA doesn’t give a hoot about head injuries; this is nothing but a political stunt to justify their existence.

If the NHTSA was serious about preventing head injuries, they’d be asking for helmets on every head in, or on, ANY motor vehicle. Per the CDC’s “http://www.cdc.gov/traumaticbraininjury/pdf/blue_book.pdf”>Blue Book (pg 30),” between 2002-2006, there were an average of 218,934 TBI’s incurred in motor vehicle accidents per year. Motorcycles accounted for only 9,938, bicycles 1,113, and pedestrians another 7,926. That leaves almost 200,000 TBI’s coming from cars, trucks and other types of vehicles.

It gets worse! Both the CDC and the Brain Injury Assoc. of America say there are 1.7 million TBI’s in the USA every year, with only 17% coming from motor vehicle accidents. If we were serious about reducing the $60 billion per year in medical costs from TBI’s, we’d be asking for a mandatory helmet law for everyone, 24 hours day, 7 days week. – and that’s never going to happen!

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