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NHTSA Publishes Report on Motorcycle Helmet Effectiveness

Motorcycle Helmet Effectiveness Report

The National Highway Transportation and Safety Agency (NHTSA) published a new report regarding the use of helmets by motorcycle riders. Wearing a helmet is an essential step in protecting yourself while riding a motorbike. In addition to wearing a motorcycle helmet, you should also wear appropriate safety clothing to guard against road rash and avoid riding in poor conditions. The purpose of this report is to inform regulatory agencies and the public about the safety trends among motorcycle riders.

Pertinent Information: Trends Among Motorcycle Helmet Use

One of the first graphics included in the report is the trends regarding motorcycle helmet use over the past two decades. Back in 2000, the rate of helmet use among motorcycle riders was 71 percent. Of note, the rate of helmet use among motorcycle riders in 2019 was also 71 percent. While this might seem like no improvements have been made, the rate has waxed and waned over the years.

Back in 2005, the rate of helmet use was an abysmal 48 percent. This was the lowest helmet usage rate in almost two decades. This means that more than half of all motorcycle riders that year put themselves at extreme risk of suffering a traumatic brain injury. The 71 percent helmet use, seen both in 2000 and this year, is the highest that motorcycle helmet use has been in the past two decades based on the report from the NHTSA.

Compliance with State and Federal Regulations

Not all helmets are created equally, and riders need to make sure they are wearing a helmet that will keep them safe. This past year, 71 percent of motorcycle riders wore a helmet that met the safety standards required by the Department of Transportation (DOT). An additional 9 percent of riders wore a helmet that was not compliant with the regulations put forth by the DOT. One out of every five motorcycle riders did not wear a helmet at all.

In states requiring all motorcycle riders to wear a helmet, 96 percent of drivers wore one. But only 83 percent of these individuals wore a DOT-compliant helmet. The other 13 percent wore a helmet that not in compliance with DOT standards. In contrast, in states that do not have a universal motorcycle helmet law, just over half of riders wore one.

Noncompliant Helmets are On the Rise

One area of concern for the NHTSA is that the rate of noncompliant helmets on the road has significantly increased. In 2017, about 3 percent of all helmets worn by motorcycle riders were noncompliant with DOT standards. This past year, that number nearly quadrupled to 12 percent. This shows that one out of eight riders is wearing a helmet that has not been rated for maximum safety.

The DOT motorcycle helmet regulations have been put into place to ensure that riders are wearing a helmet that will adequately protect their brain, neck, and spine from injuries. Those wearing a helmet that does not meet these standards are placing their health at risk. At this time, it is unclear why the rate of noncompliant helmet use is rising. The NHTSA will do everything in its power to encourage people to wear an appropriately safe helmet.

Future Directions for Motorcycle Helmet Use

Injuries continue to occur at a far greater rate in motorcycle accidents than those involving a standard passenger vehicle. For this reason, scientists and engineers are still working to improve motorcycle helmet technology. Future helmets should do more to protect motorcyclists from head and brain injuries. The research will focus on the helmet’s ability to withstand and absorb the shock of a high-speed impact during an accident. If the helmet can absorb and shift the injury away from the head and neck, this technology may save lives.

Watch YouTube Video: Motorcycle Helmet Type Buyer’s Guide Video. The video below discusses the five different helmet categories to consider when looking to buy the right helmet.

Motorcycle Accident Attorneys in Sacramento

I’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento Motorcycle Accident Attorney. Research on motorcycle helmet use and design shows that helmets play an essential role in keeping people safe. If someone you care for has been seriously injured in a motorcycle accident due to the negligence of another person or entity, please contact me today at (916) 921-6400 or (800) 404-5400 for free, friendly legal advice.

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