The federal government first began requiring states to implement motorcycle helmet laws in order to qualify for federal funding in the 1960’s. By the early 1970’s, almost all fifty states had enacted helmet laws. Most states, by 1980, had either repealed their helmet laws or amended them so as to cover young operators and passengers only. At the current time, 46 states and Washington D.C. require some degree of helmet use by motorcycle operators and passengers.
Compared with cars, motorcycles are a very dangerous form of travel. Per mile traveled, the number of deaths on motorcycles in 2004 was about 34 times the number in cars. Motorcycle deaths have doubled since they hit an all-time low in 1997. Motorcycles often have excessive performance capabilities, including rapid acceleration and high top speeds. They are much less stable than cars in emergency braking and less visible to other vehicles. Because motorcycles are unenclosed, leaving riders vulnerable to hit hard road surfaces, motorcyclists are more prone to serious crash injuries. Helmets are the principal countermeasure for reducing crash-related head injuries, which is the leading cause of death among drivers without helmets.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that motorcycle helmets reduce the likelihood of a crash fatality by 37%. Specifically, helmets are highly effective in preventing brain injuries, which often require extensive treatment and often result in lifelong disability. Motorcyclists without helmets are three times more likely to suffer traumatic brain injuries than helmeted motorcyclists.
To learn more about motorcycle helmet laws or if you have been involved in a motorcycle accident in the Mobile, Alabama area, please contact the motorcycle accident lawyers at Long & Long today to schedule your initial consultation.