Helmet Laws Save Lives and Cut Costs

A new study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that helmet use decreases fatalities in motorcycle accidents and those riders that wore helmets saved society economic costs. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, riders killed in motorcycle crashes accounted for 14 percent of all road traffic deaths. Nineteen states and the District of Columbia require all motorcycle riders to wear helmets. Laws that require some motorcycle riders, generally those 17 and younger, to wear helmets are in place in 28 states. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety provides a breakdown of specific populations covered by helmet laws per state. Partial helmet laws generally require younger riders to wear helmets and may exempt helmet use for some low power cycles.  

2008-2010 statistics for motorcycle riders:

  • 12 percent of fatally injured motorcyclists in states with universal helmet laws were not wearing helmets.
  • 64 percent of fatally injured motorcyclists in states with partial helmet laws were not wearing helmets.
  • 79 percent of fatally injured motorcyclists in states without helmet laws were not wearing helmets.
  • A total of 14,283 motorcyclists were killed in road traffic crashes with 42 percent of those riders not wearing helmets.

2010 economic costs saved:

  • In the United States, approximately$ 3 billion were saved as a result of helmet use.
  • Total saved cost per state ranged from California at $394 million to New Mexico that saved $2.6 million.
  • The median saved cost per rider was $286.

Source: "Helmet Use Among Motorcyclists Who Died in Crashes and Economic Cost Savings Associated With State Motorcycle Helmet Laws — United States, 2008–2010." Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 15 June 2012. Web. 19 June 2012. <http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm6123a1.htm?s_cid=mm6123a1_w>.

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