Universal helmet laws, which require that every motorcycle rider and passenger wear a helmet whenever they ride, can increase helmet use and save money, according to a new Centers for Disease Control (CDC) motorcycle helmet study.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, in 2010, cost savings in states with universal motorcycle helmet laws were nearly four times greater (per registered motorcycle) than in states without these comprehensive laws. Annual costs saved from helmet use, in terms of medical, productivity, and other costs, ranged from a high of $394 million in California (which has a universal helmet law) to a low of $2.6 million in New Mexico (which has a partial law, or a law requiring that only certain riders wear helmets). Partial helmet laws require that only certain riders, such as those under age 21, wear a helmet.
Universal helmet laws result in cost savings by increasing helmet use among riders and passengers, which reduces crash-related injuries and deaths. According to a CDC analysis of fatal crash data from 2008 to 2010, 12% of motorcyclists in states with universal helmet laws were not wearing helmets. In comparison, 64% of riders were not wearing helmets in states with partial helmet laws, and 79% of riders were not wearing helmets in states with no helmet laws.