It is no secret that motorcycle accidents can cause severe injuries and fatalities. Wearing the proper motorcycle helmet can help to save lives and reduce traumatic brain injuries, concussions, and other conditions. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 1,829 motorcyclists across the U.S. were saved by wearing a helmet in 2008. Motorcycle helmets are estimated to be 42 percent effective in preventing fatal injuries to passengers and 37 percent effective for motorcycle riders. However, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that 4,502 people died in motorcycle crashes in 2010 alone.
Overview of Motorcycle Helmets and Laws
Because a motorcycle operates without the protection of an enclosed vehicle, he or she is at an increased risk of sustaining severe, life-threatening injuries or death. As a result, many states have enacted motorcycle helmet laws to ensure that all riders are wearing approved helmets. Some states such as Michigan, Kentucky, and Florida have clauses that require insurance coverage for motorcyclists 21 years of age and older who choose not to wear a helmet.
According to the Department of Transportation, all helmets must meet the Consumer Product Safety Commission and US DOT standards. A safe motorcycle helmet should include:
- Chinstraps with solid rivets
- The appropriate weight that complies with federal safety standards
- An inner liner made of polystyrene foam that is one-inch thick
- A DOT sticker
Additionally, the helmet should fit snugly on the rider’s head and have no visible defects or damages because they may compromise the integrity of the helmet. Those who notice marks or questionable dents should immediately discard the helmet and purchase another to ensure that they are properly protected.
Purpose of Motorcycle Helmet Laws
Since the 1966 Highway Safety and National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act was created, an estimated 148,000 riders have died in accidents. The probability of riders dying due to injuries sustained in crashes is nearly 40 times greater than the likelihood of car passengers or drivers passing away in the same traffic collisions.
As a result, motorcycle helmet laws exist to increase the risk that a motorcyclist will survive a crash, although he or she is nine times more likely to suffer injuries than individuals in cars. In 2010, the CDC issued a report that found that:
- In states with universal helmet laws in which all riders are required to wear helmets, 12 percent of fatalities involved riders who did not wear a helmet.
- In states with partial helmet laws, 64 percent of riders killed were not wearing a helmet.
- In states with no helmet laws, 79 percent of motorcyclists died while not wearing a helmet.
If you or someone you love has been injured in a motorcycle crash that occurred due to the negligence or fault of another and you would like to learn more about seeking compensation for your injuries, contact Gladstein Law Firm, PLLC as soon as possible. We can provide you with a free consultation, help you to determine if you have a valid case, and work to help you seek the compensation to which you may be entitled. Call us today at (502) 791-9000 to schedule your no-obligation case evaluation.