What Happened When Michigan Partially Repealed Their Universal Motorcycle Helmet Law?

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What Happened When Michigan Partially Repealed Their Universal Motorcycle Helmet Law?

What Happened When Michigan Partially Repealed Their Universal Motorcycle Helmet Law?

California is home to a universal motorcycle helmet law – as are several other states in the country. There has been much discussion about whether or not this law actually helps. One factor we can consider is the partial repeal of Michigan’s universal motorcycle helmet law. Did it reduce or increase the seriousness of motorcycle accidents? Keep reading to get the answers you want.

The Goal of the Study

The study was completed by the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety (IIHS) and had a simple purpose: To find out what the impact has been of Michigan’s partial repeal to the universal motorcycle helmet law. They looked at the number of fatalities, how helmet use changed, and the occurrence and seriousness of head injuries.

How the Researchers Found Their Data

They looked at helmet use rates and fatal motorcycle accidents in the year leading up to April 13, 2012, the day of repeal. They then looked at police-reported crashes and linked those to injured riders in a trauma registry by the state. They were then able to look at head injury numbers after the repeal to find out how much the repeal of the law affected these types of injuries if it all.

The Results of the Study

The study found that helmet use did indeed go down after the repeal. In fact, before the repeal, 93% of motorcycle riders involved in a crash were wearing helmets, while just 70% were after the appeal. Fatalities held steady at just over 3% for all motorcycle crashes, but head injuries went up from 43% to nearly 50%. The need for neurosurgical intervention almost doubled as well.

In total, about 25% fewer people used helmets after the law was appealed. At the same time, there was a 14% increase in head injury. This seems like a direct correlation, but anti-helmet activists say that anything could have caused that uptick.

Should Motorcycle Helmet Laws Be More or Less Strict?

Most people agree with seatbelt laws, yet many people do not believe that motorcyclists should be required to wear helmets. It is much more common to find a group of people who support helmet use in younger or older drivers, yet not all people on motorcycles. Some believe the driver should be required to wear a helmet but passengers should not.

What is the right answer? That depends on your priorities and your viewpoint. At Law Offices of Fernando D. Vargas, we can tell you that a person wearing a helmet is more likely to survive a motorcycle accident than a person who is not wearing a helmet. A person wearing a helmet is less likely to suffer severe head trauma than a person who is not wearing a helmet. If you need a free legal consultation to learn about your options after a motorcycle accident, contact us at 909-982-0707.


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