It doesn’t matter if you’re devoted to wearing a helmet while you ride or if you prefer the wind in your hair, the protection helmets give motorcyclists can’t be denied. According to studies from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, helmet use is a significant factor in determining fatality rates of motorcycle accident victims. These studies provide the following stats on helmet use and motorcycle injuries.
- Motorcycle helmets decrease motorcyclist crash fatalities by 37 percent.
- Helmets save approximately 2,000 lives a year, with the potential to protect an additional 800, if worn properly.
- Helmets prevent 67 percent of accident victims from enduring severe and life-threatening brain injuries.
- Un-helmeted motorcyclists are three times more likely than helmeted victims to endure head and brain trauma during a collision.
As a result of these findings, NHTSA publicly encourages all 50 states to enact motorcycle safety legislation that requires all riders to wear helmets, whether they like it or not.
Tennessee Helmet Law
Although NHTSA strongly recommends that helmet safety should be a national priority, each state has the right to create its own motorcycle helmet laws. In Tennessee, the helmet law—enacted in 1967—states that all motorcycle drivers and their passengers must wear a safety-approved helmet at all times. Since the law pertains to all drivers, it is known as a “universal” helmet law.
Benefits of Helmet Laws
You may believe that the government shouldn’t tell you what to do or how to ride. However, laws that specifically address safety are a benefit to us all. Universal helmet laws protect you from suffering injuries that are beyond your control and could potentially alter the rest of your life. Therefore, despite political opinions, safety-conscious and responsible riders wear helmets for the following reasons:
- Protection. Although wearing a helmet does not guarantee that you’ll walk away from an accident unscathed, it does provide added protection for your face, skull, brain, and neck. In addition to absorbing impact forces, the shell of a helmet can also shield you from debris, road rash, and facial scarring or deformities.
- Comfort. A properly-fitted and well-equipped helmet can make your ride more comfortable by decreasing wind noise and friction on your face and eyes. A strong visor can also help deflect bugs and other objects from flying into your face, eyes, and mouth. Furthermore, a helmet can decrease discomfort when the weather suddenly changes from sunny to stormy.
- Respect. No matter what the law requires, when you wear a helmet, you show other drivers and fellow motorcyclists that you respect the danger and take responsibility seriously.
Consequences of Not Wearing a Helmet
Those who choose to leave their helmets at home not only risk suffering severe injuries but also partial liability for these injuries. In other words, since you’re required to wear a helmet, if your injuries were caused or worsened by the lack of proper headgear, a civil jury could decide that your choice to ignore the law was negligent. As a result, they could determine that you share some level of blame for your injuries and therefore some financial responsibility as well.
For more information about motorcycle traffic laws and safety, please feel free to browse our selection of educational Blogs and FAQs. For a more detailed discussion of rider rights, as a collision victim, we encourage you to contact our office today to schedule a FREE case evaluation. To understand your legal options for compensation, you need a lawyer who knows the ins and outs of local laws. John Griffith is that lawyer. Call or visit today to see how he can help you with your claim.