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Motorcycle Helmet Laws Could Save Lives and Money

Updated February 20, 2021 | By Wilson Kehoe Winingham staff

A recent report published in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report found that injuries and deaths related to motorcycle crashes were significantly reduced by the use of motorcycle helmets.

Though helmets do not always prevent death, they do lower the risk of fatality and brain injuries if an accident occurs. In fact, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that 1,859 motorcyclists’ lives were saved in 2016 by helmet use; an estimated 208 deaths could have been prevented if motorcyclists had worn their helmets.

The past few years have seen a consistency in fatal motorcycle collisions, accounting for 14% of total accidents in 2018 alone. This statistic is appalling given that only 3% of registered vehicles are motorcycles.

There are three options across the United States for helmet wear: no law, partial law, and universal law. In States with partial law, 41% of fatalities were of helmeted motorcyclists. In a recent survey done by the U.S. Department of Transportation, helmet use increased to 71% in 2018. According to the USDOT, helmets are 37% effective in preventing death,

Motorcycle Helmets Save Lives

Motorcycle helmet use saved about $3.16 billion across the nation in 2015. The authors stated, however, that an additional $1.36 billion would have been saved if everyone riding on a motorcycle was wearing a helmet. In the evaluation for comprehensive cost, or bills plus loss in quality of life, $8.3 billion dollars would have been saved if every motorcyclist and passenger wore a helmet.

Helmet use in states with a universal helmet law saved an average of $725 in medical and productivity costs per registered motorcycle. In states without such a law, helmet use reportedly saved an average of $198 per registered motorcycle. The authors stated the cost savings from helmet use ranged from about $1,627 per registered motorcycle in North Carolina to $48 in New Mexico. According to the report, 23 of the 25 states that fell below the median helmet use cost savings of $286 were either partial helmet law states, such as Indiana, or states without a helmet law.

Motorcycle Fatalities in the United States

In 2018, there were 4,895 motorcyclists were killed in auto accidents. This is the first time we’ve seen the annual death being just below 5,000 since 2015. Other fatality facts from 2018 are:

  • 37% of those killed were not wearing a protective helmet at the time of the accident
  • In states with a universal helmet law, 8% of those killed in a motorcycle crash were not wearing a helmet
  • In states with a partial helmet law (requiring only a subset of the population to wear a protective helmet), approximately 55% of those killed in a motorcycle crash were not wearing a helmet
  • In states without a helmet law, about 72% of those killed in a motorcycle crash were not wearing a helmet

Accident rates imply that motorcycle helmet laws save lives.

Contact a Motorcycle Accident Attorney

If you or a loved one have been injured as a result of a motorcycle accident, you are urged to contact the Indianapolis Motorcycle Accident Attorneys of Wilson Kehoe Winingham. The lawyers at WKW can help you get the compensation you deserve. Call 317.920.6400 or fill out an online contact form for a free, no-obligation case evaluation.

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