Motorcycle Accident Deaths Are Reduced by Helmet Laws: CDC

States that require motorcycle riders to wear helmets have fewer deaths and help reduce the overall cost of health care by $3 billion, according to a new federal report. 

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a report last week, which indicates that states where motorcyclists are not required to wear helmets have five times the number of biker deaths when compared with states that require riders wear head protection.

Overall, 2010 saw 4,502 motorcycle accidents resulting in death, making up 14% of all road traffic deaths, despite the fact that motorcycles represent less than 1% of vehicle miles traveled that year.

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“Helmet use consistently has been shown to reduce motorcycle crash-related injuries and deaths, and the most effective strategy to increase helmet use is enactment of universal helmet laws,” the CDC said in its report.

From 2008 through 2010, there were 14,283 motorcyclists killed in crashes, with 6,057, or 42%, not wearing a helmet.

The 20 states with helmet requirements had a combined 739 deaths involving bikers not wearing helmets, compared to 504 in the three states without any helmet laws.

There are 27 states with partial helmet laws, and they had 4,814 deaths of riders without helmets. In states where helmets are required, the state saved about $725 per registered rider the report found.

As of 2012, there are only 19 states with universal helmet laws, 28 with partial laws and three with no laws.

The researchers concluded that it was six times more likely that motorcyclists killed in crashes did not have their helmets on in states without helmet laws than in states that had helmet requirements. The data also indicates that states which get rid of helmet laws see an increase in motorcyclist deaths and health care costs associated with motorcycle accident injuries.


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