The law in some US states requiring all motor cyclists to wear helmets pays dividends in terms of safety and costs, according to a new report from the CDC.
According to Occupational Health and Safety, the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC), in a Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, has indicated that states which require motor cyclists and their passengers to wear helmets have seen a reduced rate of injuries and considerable cost savings from the state budgets,
The CDC report's analysis, which looked at fatal crash data from 2008 to 2010, shows that the biggest saving was $394 million in California (which has a universal helmet law) down to $2.6 million in New Mexico (which has a partial law).
For states which do not have the law in place, 79 percent of the fatalities relating to motor cyclists related to riders who were not wearing helmets. The laws relating to the wearing of helmets vary considerably across states.
For the study, CDC researchers analyzed data from two national sources: 2008-2010 Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) data and 2010 data on economic costs saved by motorcycle helmet use, both from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
In response to the findings, DC Director Thomas R. Frieden, M.D., M.P.H is quoted as saying "Increasing motorcycle helmet use can save lives and money. In 2010, more than $3 billion in economic costs were saved due to helmet use in the United States. Another $1.4 billion could have been saved if all motorcyclists had worn helmets.”
The CDC have also listed an information leaflet, promoting helmet use. The key points are:
CDC encourages motorcycle riders to:
Always wear a helmet.
Never ride a motorcycle after drinking.
Wear protective clothing that provides some level of injury protection.
Maintain a safe speed and exercise caution when traveling over slippery surfaces or gravel.
Despite the statistics, not all US states are in favor of compulsory helmet laws seeing the law as an imposition upon civic liberties, as the Austin Post Bulletin describes in relation to Minnesota.