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CDC Report States the Obvious A Motorcycle Helmet Might Keep You Alive

This probably won’t come as any shock to you,  but a recent Centers for Disease Control report says far fewer motorcyclists die in states which require riders to wear helmets, and the report also draws the somewhat controversial conclusion that  cost of such accidents to society overall are lower in those states as well.

According to the report, some five times as many rider deaths occur where no helmet is worn in states with less restrictive laws.

The CDC says the results are clear and unequivocal.

“These laws save lives,” said epidemiologist and the study’s lead author, Rebecca Naumann.

The CDC researchers looked at a government data derived from reports of fatal traffic crashes and focused on 2008 through 2010. That data included some 14,283 rider deaths, 6,057 of those accidents included bikers with no helmet. The study found that about 12 percent of those deaths occurred in the 20 states which currently require everyone on a motorcycle to wear a helmet. The researchers also made cost calculations for the year 2010 based on medical expenses and lost work productivity which resulted from motorcycle deaths and injuries.

And the CDC study makes no bones about their conclusions.

“In 2010, more than $3 billion in economic costs were saved due to (motorcycle) helmet use in the United States. Another $1.4 billion could have been saved if all motorcyclists had worn helmets.”

In states where helmet are required, the study found that the savings per registered rider are higher than in states with fewer or no restrictions. Researchers estimated those savings at $725 in those states with tight restrictions versus only about $200 in less restrictive states. At the time of the study, Illinois, Iowa and New Hampshire had no helmet law and  27 only required helmets for teenagers or various other classes riders. Twenty states had comprehensive motorcycle helmet laws, but since the study was completed, Michigan has changed the state’s helmet law in 2012. Michigan now allows riders older than 21 to go without a helmet if they carrying an additional $20,000 in medical insurance and have been registered riders for at least two years.

Some motorcyclists, led by lobbying groups like ABATE,   argue that riders should have the freedom to wear a helmet or go without according to their personal preference.

The report says that motorcycles make up only 3 percent of the registered vehicles on the road but account for 14 percent of the total number or motorists who die in traffic accidents.

See the entire CDC report here: http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr

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