The data continue to prove that motorcycle helmet laws save lives. Government and privately conducted studies support the effectiveness of helmets and the impact of helmet laws in reducing the number of serious injuries and fatalities. The results of some of these studies are cited below.
NHTSA estimates that in 1996 helmets saved 490 motorcyclists’ lives. If all motorcyclists in all 50 states and the District of Columbia had worn a helmet, that number would have been 769.
NHTSA estimates that from 1984 to 1996 helmets saved the lives of 7,940 motorcyclists. If all motorcyclists in all 50 states and the District of Columbia had worn a helmet during this time period, the number of lives saved would have been 14,505.
Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) data indicated that helmets are 29 percent effective in reducing fatalities in motorcycle crashes.
A study completed at the University California - Los Angeles (UCLA) determined that statewide motorcycle fatalities declined 40.3 percent from 1991, before the California motorcycle helmet law for all riders was in effect, to 1993, the second full year that California’s law was in effect. 239 lives were saved over the same period as a result of the helmet law.
In the same UCLA study, the number of injured riders decreased over 30 percent in 1992 and 1993, the first two years of the California law, when compared to 1991 (pre- law). The number of riders admitted to the hospital decreased about 35 percent both in 1992 and 1993, which is proportionally more than riders treated in the emergency department and released. The number of riders brought to emergency departments decreased about 25 percent for both 1992 and 1993.
A study revealed that 24 out of 26 states that repealed their universal helmet laws experienced an average 25 percent increase in motorcycle fatalities.
The death rate for motorcyclists rose 61 percent the year following Kansas’ repeal of its universal helmet law.
A privately conducted study reported a 40 percent increase in fatally injured motorcyclists in states repealing their universal helmet laws.
Data Prove: Helmet use reduces fatalities.
Source: UCLA School of Public Health, Center for Injury Prevention