Recently, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) has been cracking down on the use of novelty motorcycle helmets. These are helmets that do not meet the requirements of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) 218. FMVSS 218 is a list of requirements set by the U.S. Department of Transportation.
Helmets that meet these requirements are considered to be “DOT certified” and are given a DOT sticker to be placed on the outside of the back of the helmet. All helmets sold for use by motorcyclists in the United States are required to be DOT certified. However, novelty helmets are still being used, presenting a serious risk to riders.
DOT-certified helmets are designed to protect the head during most types of motorcycle crash impacts. The helmets are tested under conditions that simulate a moderate impact at up to 250 times the force of gravity (250g). DOT helmets are designed to absorb the force of the crash rather than resisting the impact.
Some DOT helmets have a second sticker from the Snell Memorial Foundation. A Snell Memorial sticker means that the helmet has passed additional testing and meets the more stringent Snell Foundation standards. Helmets that pass Snell’s M2010 guidelines generally meet both US DOT and European (ECE R22-05) standards.
In an effort to keep motorcyclists safe in the event of a crash, the U.S. Department of Transportations’ National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM). The NPRM addresses the ongoing use of novelty motorcycle helmets that are poorly constructed and do not meet safety standards for crash protection. Unfortunately, they continue to be sold for use.
Why is the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration so concerned with the use of novelty motorcycle helmets? The following is an overview:
According to the NHTSA, only half of our nation’s states actually require motorcycle helmet use for all riders and passengers. Other states only require helmet use for certain groups, such as minors. Unfortunately, recent trends indicate that many states are actually repealing or reducing these helmet requirements.
How do motorcycle helmet laws improve safety? The following is an overview:
Clearly, motorcycle helmet laws have a significant impact on overall safety. It is crucial for motorists and passengers to wear helmets in order to reduce the risk of severe injury or even death. Only properly designed helmets can prevent injuries during a crash, and these are the helmets that motorcyclists should be using.