The National Transportation Safety Board is urging states to enact mandatory helmet laws for all motorcycle riders, reports USA Today. On average, a dozen motorcyclists die in crashes in the USA each day, and the leading cause of death in those fatalities is head injuries, said NTSB Vice Chairman Christopher Hart. Forty-seven states and the District of Columbia have motorcycle helmet laws. H owever, only 20 states and the District require them for all riders; the other 27 states require helmets only for some riders, usually those under 18. Illinois, Iowa and New Hampshire have no helmet law.
Motorcycles comprise just 3% of vehicles on the nation’s road but are involved in 13% of fatalities, Hart said. He said helmets that meet federal Department of Transportation regulations are 37% effective in preventing motorcycle fatalities. He said the “novelty helmets” preferred by some riders have less padding against impact and penetration, and are more easily lost in crashes. For years, motorcycle deaths have climbed steadily even as nearly every other category of traffic fatality has declined. However, last year for the first time in 11 years, motorcycle fatalities dropped – a decline that some experts attribute to the economy.