Universal Motorcycle Helmet Laws Reduce Costs to Society
Helmet Laws Reduce Public Payout.
Helmet laws significantly reduce the
strain on public resources. Unhelmeted riders cost more to treat at the hospital, spend a
longer time in rehabilitation, and are more likely to require some form of public assistance to for pay medical bills and rehabilitation. In 1991, prior to enacting its helmet law, California’s state medical insurance program paid $40 million for the treatment of motorcycle-related head injuries. That figure dropped to $24 million after enactment of a universal helmet law.
“It costs nothing to ride without a helmet – as long as there is no crash.” It is true that wearing a motorcycle helmet will not prevent a crash. But when a crash happens, the freedom to ride unhelmeted is paid for in different ways, by different sources. The motorcyclist pays and the public pays through taxes, insurance rates, and health care costs.
What is the price?
Hospitalization and related medical expenses are higher for
unhelmeted riders because of brain injuries. Here’s what the data tell us:
The average charge for inpatient care for motorcyclists who sustain a brain injury is more than twice the charge for motorcyclists receiving inpatient care for other injuries.
The average savings for prevented brain injuries in Hawaii, Maine, Missouri, New York, Pennsylvania, Utah, and Wisconsin was $15,000 in inpatient costs for each incident in the first year.
The average hospitalization costs for unhelmeted riders were one-third greater than those of helmeted riders ($7,208 to $5,852) in a study of Illinois-injured motorcyclists.
“We may not be able to eliminate all the risk from motorcycling, but helmet laws greatly reduce the most expensive injuries— head injuries. Reducing these costs is good for the consumer and it is good for business, too.”
Tim Hoyt, Vice President, Safety
Nationwide Insurance Enterprises.
What about insurance?
Motorcyclists pay very high insurance premiums, but these
premiums don’t cover the complete costs of long-term rehabilitation. Increased payouts
Source: UCLA School of Public Health, Center for Injury Prevention