Peters Proposes New Motorcycle Helmet Safety Rule

U.S. Transportation Secretary Mary E. Peters yesterday proposed a new rule that she said will improve motorcycle safety by making it easier for riders to identify and use effective helmets, instead of unsafe, "novelty" helmets. The proposal will also make it harder for riders to use novelty helmets in states that require DOT-certified helmets, she said.

"Novelty helmets do little to protect riders during an accident," Peters said. "This proposal will make it easier for riders to know in advance whether the helmet they buy will keep them safe."

The proposal would amend the agency's current motorcycle helmet safety rules to require manufacturers to place a larger, tamper-proof DOT label on the back of certified helmets. The new labels will make it harder for vendors to remove the labels on safe helmets and affix them to the unsafe novelty helmets.

The proposed rule would also strengthen the tests helmets must go through to receive DOT certification, including updated tests on how the helmets hold up during impact, whether objects can penetrate the helmet, and how well the helmet stays in place during a crash. Recent tests of novelty helmets which are not DOT certified showed they fail to meet current DOT performance tests.

"As our testing has shown, these 'novelty' helmets do not have the energy absorbing capacity to protect a rider in a highway crash," said David Kelly, acting NHTSA administrator. "A DOT-certified and labeled helmet, as proposed today, will help consumers make more knowledgeable decisions when purchasing a helmet."

The proposed rule will help mitigate the yearly increases in motorcycle fatalities and injuries that have plagued the nation for nearly a decade, Peters said. Fatalities have more than doubled since 1997--increasing by 144 percent. Yet new data indicate that nearly one in five motorcycle riders in states with helmet laws wear a non-compliant helmet.

In 2006, helmets saved an estimated 1,658 lives. If everyone worn a helmet, an additional 752 lives would have been saved, Peters said. During the same year, 4,837 motorcyclists were killed; of those, more than 40 percent weren't wearing helmets, she added.

To download the proposed rule, click here.

Download Center

  • EHS Buyer's Guide

    Download this buyer's guide to make more informed decisions as you're looking for an EHS management software system for your organization.

  • Online Safety Training Buyer's Guide

    Use this handy buyer's guide to learn the basics of selecting online safety training and how to use it at your workplace.

  • COVID Return-to-Work Checklist, Fall 2021

    Use this checklist as an aid to help your organization return to work during the COVID-19 pandemic in a safe and healthy manner.

  • SDS Buyer's Guide

    Learn to make informed decisions while searching for SDS Management Software.

  • Risk Matrix Guide

    Risk matrices come in many different shapes and sizes. Understanding the components of a risk matrix will allow you and your organization to manage risk effectively.

  • Industry Safe

Featured Whitepapers

OH&S Digital Edition

  • OHS Magazine Digital Edition - September 2021

    September 2021

    Featuring:

    • COMBUSTIBLE DUST
      Managing Combustible Dust and Risk Mitigation
    • PPE: CONSTRUCTION
      The Rising Popularity of Safety Helmets on the Jobsite
    • PPE: ELECTRICAL SAFETY
      Five Tips for a Successful Wear Trial
    • SAFETY & HEALTH
      Medical Surveillance Versus Medical Screening
    View This Issue