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Current State Motorcycle Helmet Laws and Fatality Rates

Current State Motorcycle Helmet Laws and Fatality Rates

4/9/2014

The percentage of people killed in motorcycle crashes in 2011 who were not wearing helmets is higher in states without a mandatory helmet law.

United States map of State Motorcycle Helmet Laws and Fatality Rates

  • More than 8 million motorcycles were registered in the United States in 2011, and nearly 500,000 motorcycles were sold in 2012.
  •  In 2011, 4,612 motorcyclists were killed in crashes and 81,000 were injured. Per miles travelled, motorcyclists are 30 times more likely than passenger car occupants to die in a crash.
  • Wearing helmets and getting the proper licensing and training have been shown to reduce injuries and deaths from motorcycle crashes.
  • Nineteen states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands currently require all riders to wear helmets.
  • Illinois, Iowa and New Hampshire do not require anyone to wear a helmet, regardless of age.
  • The remaining 28 states require riders of a specific age—usually those under age 18 or 21—to wear helmets.
  • According to a 2012 National Occupant Protection Use Survey (NOPUS) Survey, conducted by National Highway Traffic Safety Administration;
    • In states with universal helmet laws, 89 percent of the motorcyclists observed were wearing helmets.
    • In states with partial helmet use requirements or no laws, 49 percent were observed wearing helmets.

Source: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and National Conference of State Legislatures 2014.

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