NHTSA Head Calls for National Helmet Law

ASK YOUR US HOUSE AND US SENATE CANDIDATES WHERE THEY STAND ON MANDATORY MOTORCYCLE HELMET LAWS, THEN VOTE ACCORDINGLY. THIS IS A DIRECT ATTACK ON MOTORCYCLING FREEDOM - DON'T STAND FOR IT.


www.ama-cycle.org/news/story.asp?id=2278


Federal traffic safety official wants Congress to actively promote
helmet use
Posted September 28, 2010


The head of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)
told a congressional panel on Sept. 28 that he wants to work with
Congress to promote helmet use among motorcyclists across the United
States.


Addressing the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product
Safety and Insurance, NHTSA Administrator David Strickland said that to
reduce motorcycling fatalities "the most important step we could take
would be to assure that all riders wear a DOT-compliant helmet, which
are 37 percent effective in reducing fatalities.


"We estimate that helmets prevented over 1,800 fatalities in 2008, and
that more than 800 additional fatalities could have been avoided if all
riders wore helmets," he said. "NHTSA will actively work with Congress
to promote helmet use."


Strickland's comments were part of his overall testimony regarding how
safety provisions in the transportation reauthorization bill
(SAFETEA-LU) played a role in reducing highway fatalities.


The American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) is concerned that Strickland
may be recommending that Congress try to pressure states into passing
mandatory helmet-use laws. In the past, Congress tried to force states
to approve such laws by withholding federal transportation and safety
dollars to states without mandatory helmet laws.


The AMA supports states' rights to determine their helmet policies free
from the threat of federal sanctions. Congress affirmed this right as
recently as 1995 in the National Highway System Act, when lawmakers
removed federal penalties placed on states that didn't have mandatory
helmet laws.


"The AMA believes that the best way for the NHTSA to reduce motorcycle
crashes is through programs such as rider education and increasing
motorcycle awareness among vehicle drivers," said Ed Moreland, AMA
senior vice president for government relations. "These programs would
help reduce the likelihood that a crash will happen in the first place."


In addition, said Moreland, motorcyclists would be much better served by
applying any funding that may go toward requiring motorcyclists to wear
helmets to the national motorcycle crash causation study that is
currently under way at Oklahoma State University.


This is a sentiment supported by U.S. Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.)
and many of his congressional colleagues through recently introduced H.
Res. 1498: Supporting Efforts to Retain the Ban on the National Highway
Traffic Safety Administration's (NHTSA) Ability to Lobby State
Legislators Using Federal Tax Dollars and Urging the NHTSA to Focus on
Crash Prevention and Rider Education and Training.