Motorcycle Helmet Laws in America
Motorcycle are not the safest means of transportation but millions of people all across America choose them over automobile for the trill, speed and high performance capabilities they offer in fraction of the price of a automobile. Motorcycle do not provide the protection like automobiles do with their outer body and safety features like air bags and seat belts, therefore in case of an accident the injury sustained by the rider is often very serious. When dealing with motorcycle accidents, majority of the fatalities are due to head injuries which could have been prevented had the rider been wearing a helmet. Helmets are the only method to reduce the head injuries during crashes which is the leading cause of death involving motorcycle accidents.
Helmet use law has created a lot of controversies over the years, while some supporting the law and other opposing it. One side who support the law believe that the helmet law protects the motorcyclist from danger in case of an accident and save the nation a good deal of money. While, the other side believes that the law is unconstitutional and it violets their right to freedom. Although helmet cannot prevent motorcycle accidents but greatly reduces the number of deaths caused by head injuries during these crashes as well as helps in lowering taxes, insurance cost and health care cost.
According to the federal government estimates, the number of deaths on motorcycle per mile in 2006 was 35 times higher than in automobile. In last couple of years motorcycle deaths have seen considerable increase- more than doubling in 2007 from the record low in 1997. In contrast the passenger occupant death reached a record low in 2007.
This paper examines the history of motorcycle helmet use law and also the current state of the law. It also tries to highlight the burden that accident involving riders not wearing helmet impose on the society and also the effect of helmet law on helmet use.
References: www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov www.iihs.org www.nhtsa.dot.org