Contact: Mike Hays, 615 469-2567
CMT/ABATE Response to NTSB Helmet Law Recommendations
On September 11, 2007, the NTSB issued the “most wanted” list of safety improvements, including calling for mandatory helmet laws for all motorcyclists in all states. Just hours later the Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety (AHAS) released a supporting position.
President Judith Lee Stone says “The single most effective measure to reduce the number of motorcycle fatalities is the use of a helmet”. She goes on to say “Critics of helmet laws cite motorcycle education programs as the answer. However, there is no scientific evidence that motorcycle rider training reduces crash risk and is an adequate substitute for an all-rider helmet law.”
Mike Hays, Legislative Director for CMT/ABATE encourages closer examination of the facts. “One look at the states with the lowest fatality rates will show a direct correlation between outstanding rider education programs, motorist awareness campaigns and lower fatality rates. The NTSB, AHAS and others would have you believe the helmet is the silver bullet to stop the carnage of motorcyclists. Those who actually ride know better!”
The NTSB has investigated 124,000 aviation crashes, 10,000 surface transportation crashes (including rail, pipeline and mass transit) and, get ready for this, a whopping six motorcycle crashes. That's a half dozen motorcycle investigations over the past 40 years or just .15 motorcycle crashes a year to put it in government statistic speak.
--The three states with the lowest fatality rates in the country per 10,000 registered motorcycles: Minnesota, Iowa, and Wisconsin, do not have mandatory adult helmet laws.
--Of the ten states with the highest fatality rates per 10,000 registered motorcycles, seven of them have universal helmet laws.
--Since Louisiana reinstated their helmet law in 2004, fatalities in that state have climbed to the highest levels in that state's history.
The NTSB has missed a giant opportunity to make a real contribution to the safety of America’s motorcyclists. They failed miserably. Crash avoidance, not safer crashing, is what really saves lives. The only thing a call for mandatory helmets does is obscure the underlying problems and give these “safety” organizations more reason to justify their very existence.
CMT/ABATE State Director Tom Quaranto says “No one is more concerned about motorcycle safety than riders. Listen to us!”
CMT/ABATE, Inc. is a non-profit, political organization that was formed to preserve freedom and safety for all Tennesseans who enjoy motorcycling. Our major goals are to modify existing laws that are detrimental to motorcycle safety and enjoyment, and to enact new legislation in support of all motorcyclists who ride in Tennessee.