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Universal Helmet Laws Reduce Injuries andSave Lives

Motorcycle helmets clearly work to reduce injuries and fatalities among

motorcyclists.

That’s why all motorcyclists should wear helmets and why all states

need a helmet law that covers all riders. Helmet laws are the way to achieve high helmet use.

A physician dreams about having the opportunity to save as many lives as legislators save with the single act of passing a universal motorcycle helmet law.

  • Dr. Tilman Jolly, M.D. Associate Professor, Dept. of Emergency Medicine

The George Washington University Medical Center.

Helmet laws translate into increased helmet usage.

Helmet laws translate into lives saved.

Helmet laws increase helmet usage,

which in turn saves lives and reduces head trauma. This has been proven numerous times through state fatality data (including Illinois, California, Washington, & Louisiana)

that allowed comparison of deaths and injuries before and after helmet laws were enacted. The most accurate reflection of a state’s helmet use law is through the comparison of that state’s motorcycle crash-related fatalities before and after enactment or repeal a helmet law for all riders.

Each state’s data showed approximately the same trend:

  • When universal helmet laws are enacted, helmet use increases, and fatalities and serious injuries decrease.

  • When these laws are repealed, helmet use decreases, and injuries and associated costs increase, far exceeding the number of new motorcycles registered.

  • Motorcyclist fatalities increase when a helmet law is repealed.

These results are consistent in every state where studies on the effectiveness of motorcycle helmet laws have been conducted. Additionally, data show that age-specific laws do not protect that group of riders that are historically victims in a fatal crash: those over the age of 21 years.

Source: UCLA School of Public Health, Center for Injury Prevention

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