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Directions in Highway Safety Cover - Summer 2012 Download Newsletter pdf
[2.2 MB, 12 pgs.]

Summer 2012

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CDC Reports Efficacy of Universal Motorcycle Helmet Laws

A new report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirms that universal helmet laws are more effective than partial laws. They save lives and medical, productivity and related costs.

Lead researcher Rebecca Naumann notes, “Universal helmet laws result in increased helmet use and cost savings. In states with universal helmet laws, use approaches 100 percent.” The report notes that yearly cost savings in states with helmet laws were almost four times greater than in states without these laws.

Head injuries are the leading cause of death among motorcyclists. Naumann points out that some people believe that helmets themselves cause injuries and restrict vision and hearing. However, she says, “All studies have shown that is not the case.”

Motorcycle Fatalities When NOT Wearing a Helmet - 12% in States with universal hemlet law - 64% in States with partial helmet law - 79% in States with no helmet law

The data show that in 19 states with universal helmet laws, 12 percent of those who died in a motorcycle crash were not wearing a helmet. In comparison, 64 percent of those who died in crashes in states with partial helmet laws were not wearing one; nor were 79 percent of those who died in the three states with no helmet laws (Illinois, Iowa and New Hampshire).

Despite the evidence of the effectiveness, the trend continues to be states repealing universal helmet laws. In April, Michigan became the latest state to repeal. No state has enacted a new universal helmet law since Louisiana in 2004.