The National Transportation Safety Board stated on Tuesday that all states should require riders to wear federally approved helmets. This proclamation comes at a time when states seem increasingly resistant to mandate helmet laws.
Christopher A. Hart, the NTSB’s vice chairman, stated, "Too many lives are lost in motorcycle accidents." Hart continued, "It's a public health issue." Hart said that helmet laws have been placed on the NTSB’s “most wanted list” of safety improvement priorities. The list is considered a powerful tool by which the NTSB forces legislative change.
The appeal comes at a time when motorcycle deaths have actually been on the decrease since 2009. However, NTSB figures show that 65% of motorcyclists killed nationwide were not wearing helmets.
This is not the first time there has been federal pressure for helmet laws. In the late 1960s, Congress threatened to withhold highway funding for states failing to adopt universal helmet laws. However, resistance and pressure from motorcycle groups thwarted the pressure. In fact, in 2005, Congress prohibited states from using federal money to promote helmet use.
Currently, fewer than half of US states require helmets to be worn by an adult motorcycle rider. We’d like to hear the opinions of our readers on mandatory helmet laws, and the NTSB’s latest push.