Helmet use has consistently been shown to reduce motorcycle crash-related deaths and injuries.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) analyzed 2008-2010 National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) data from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS), a census of fatal traffic crashes in the U.S. Economic data was also obtained from NHTSA to compare costs saved as a result of helmet use. The findings indicated that in states with universal helmet laws only 12% of fatally injured motorcyclists were not wearing a helmet, compared with 64% of riders in partial helmet law states, and 79% in states with no helmet law. In 2010, economic costs saved by society from helmet use in states with a universal helmet law averaged $725 per rider, nearly four times more savings than in states without such laws.
Despite the fact that researchers have cited helmet use as the single most effective countermeasure in reducing motorcyclist injuries and deaths, only 19 states currently have universal helmet laws, and no states have enacted helmet laws since 2004. In fact, new data from the Highway Loss Data Institute further indicates that motorcycle safety is going in the wrong direction.
Research has shown that when a state repeals its universal helmet law as Michigan did in 2012, motorcycle crash injuries increased substantially, as did the medical costs of injured motorcyclists. Six states have repealed their universal helmet laws since 1997.
The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) evaluated studies on motorcycle helmet laws, focusing on the effectiveness of helmets in preventing fatalities and serious injuries, the impact of helmet laws, and the societal costs of helmet nonuse. The studies they evaluated indicated that helmeted riders suffer fewer severe head injuries and lower fatality rates than non-helmeted riders. The evaluation also showed that helmet use ranged from 92-100 percent in states with universal helmet laws, compared with 42-59 percent use in states without. The data on cost of medical services rendered to motorcycle accident victims was somewhat unclear, but studies show that society pays for much of that care through tax-supported programs or insurance premiums. The long-term costs for victims of serious and critical head injuries could range from $100,000 to 300,000 per person.
If a negligent driver injures you or someone you love, an experienced Seattle motorcycle accident attorney at Phillips Law Firm can help.