• Apr 29, 2010
If at first you don't succeed, try, try again. And again. And again. Until the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration tells you that your company is no longer allowed to make helmets and sell them in the United States. Or something like that.
Specifically, we're talking about a Florida-based company called Advanced Carbon Composites. Apparently, the helmet manufacturer's first product was called the EXT001, and it failed to meet the safety agency's standards. So, it was recalled, and the new model was the EXT002. Sadly, the revised helmet still wasn't safe enough.

And so the EXT003 was created. Guess what? It too failed the required safety standards. And so did the latest helmet, the EXT004. For those keeping track of such things, Advanced Carbon Composites built and sold some 17,000 helmets from 2005, none of which was ever deemed safe. What to do?

How about a cease and desist order. The NHTSA ordered Advanced Carbon Composites to "stop designing, selling or manufacturing motorcycle helmets." Company president Kim L. Davis has agreed to the NHTSA's demands and is not allowed to own more than three percent of any company that has anything to do with motorcycle helmets.

Case closed? Perhaps. Perusing the company's product portfolio indicates that it still offering helmets for kayaking and other whitewater sports. Remember... use your brain the next time you decide to make a helmet purchase.

[Source: New York Times]


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  • 51 Comments
      • 4 Years Ago
      Am I the only one who has ever seen a skull-cap helmet sold in a motorcycle shop and watched the clerk take a DOT sticker out of a drawer and affix it to the back of the helmet at the time of sale?

      With the inflated medical costs in the USA I cannot believe that insurance providers are not checking to see if riders involved in crashes were actually wearing legally required safety gear and acting accordingly.
      Is this not the case?
        • 4 Years Ago
        Exactly my point.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Since when does NHTSA have the authority to tell a private citizen what business they can or cannot own?

      Current or previous failure, or even incompetence is not a barrier from future attempts for success. How many times did Edison fail before succeeding with a marketable light bulb? over 200 times, if I remember correctly.

      I don't know if these ACC folks are incompetent, foolish, or just not quite successful, but in what free country can the NHTSA bar a person from owning any private enterprise they want?

      If they fail, it should be publicized that they fail, and dangerous products perhaps be de-listed from saleability. But that doesn't mean that you prevent people from trying again, and again, and again, as much as they want. Maybe they'll never succeed. Keep publishing it if they keep failing.

      But this is fascist to say that "x" person cannot do or own "y" thing because they haven't gotten it right yet.

      If incompetence is a barrier to future activity, every last moron in washington should be barred from public service for the remainder of their natural lives.
        • 4 Years Ago
        What about Try, Try AGAIN, aren't you people understanding?

        So what if they've tried 4 times and failed.

        So they failed. So those 4 attempts should be treated as failures.

        There is no grounds, pattern or not, to prevent them from KEEP TRYING.

        The pattern of behavoir is not criminal, so it has no bearing. A failed product is only a failed result.

        Failure is ABSOLUTELY NOT grounds for blockage from even being able to try. Failure only blocks the result from being certified until it passes. They should be able to try 20 times. or 200 times, if they want to, and can afford to.

        It is their time and money to waste, or to finally succeed with. They'll either decide that wasting R&D is not worth-while, and CHOOSE to stop, OR they'll do what it takes to ultimately succeed.

        Do you understand how absolutely corrosive to FREEDOM that is, to BAR someone from even TRYING again? Or barring someone specific from owning something specific?

        Do you people realize that if they can do it to this person, they can do it to YOU?

        What are the arbitrary rules for that? WHO decides to deign to give you the right to try? HOW do they choose?

        DO YOU PEOPLE UNDERSTAND TYRANNY OR FREEDOM AT ALL? OR is this free country already lost, and only an appearance shell of what it once was?

        ARE YOU PEOPLE SLAVES ALREADY? Where has my free country gone?
        • 4 Years Ago
        Wow - how niave. You think that this company was just trying reaaallly hard to make a good helmet, and couldn't do it? Not, for example, trying to make money by avoiding the safety requirements they were legally compelled to meet before selling them? Why sell the helmets if they couldn't verify that they met safety requirements?

        And yes, it was criminal - the NHTSA accused them of deliberately avoiding the recalls and making inadequate repairs to stall enforcement, which is in violation of the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act, a law voted through congress and signed by the president just like every other one. So the company was busted - rather than face court in a case they would clearly lose, the company agreed not to make any more helmets.

        The NHTSA ordinarily has no right to just bar people from entering certain businesses, but in a legal settlement the two parties can agree to whatever they want. Take your tinfoil hat off.
        • 4 Years Ago
        And you miss the point entirely.

        A bad light bulb could be a fire risk... so what was that about safety?

        You also missed that I said that an un-safe helmet should be prevented from being salable.

        What is absolutely unacceptable, is the restriction of that person from owning things, or trying again, until they succeed in making a safe product.

        That is a blatant violation of the right for that person to "pursue happines." Business provides income to live life with. The government has explicit denial of authority to prevent people from pursuing their own enterprises. NHTSA has no constitutional authority to tell anyone what they can or cannot do, what they can or cannot own.

        They can only block an inferior resultant product from being certified as successfully passing requirements.

        HOW WOULD YOU LIKE THE GOVERNMENT TELLING YOU THAT YOU CAN'T DO WHAT YOU WANT TO TRY TO SUCCEED AT?

        If they can block one person, they can block any person. GET THE HINT.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Then take them to COURT, and prove the case.

        The NHTSA has no grounds to BAR anyone from legitimate private enterprise.

        If there is due process, and a case can be PROVEN, then there are criminal penalties.

        NHTSA is NOT a court of law.

        You guys still don't get it. You are FREE in this country. Free even to be stupid, and to fail, over and over again. But you retain your FREEDOM.

        Once the precedent is set for a government agency to bar someone without criminal proceedings, due process rights, and the ability for the accused to FACE their accuser and accusations, then the precedent can apply to any government agency doing anything they want to anyone they want.

        How the hell are there so many people ignorant of the principles of freedom? No wonder the government is taking over everything they can get their grubby claws on. You people WELCOME IT.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Uh, read the original NYTimes article, Boxer.

        Basically the helmet company kept deliberately botching the recalls and doing useless "repairs" to existing helmets instead of replacing them with proper ones (which they didn't want to spend the $$$ to get up to standards anyway). Clearly they were trying to just tie the NHTSA up testing each "new model" while avoiding their responsibility to sell actual safe helmets. So the NHTSA accused them of violating the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act and prepared to sue, as is its job. The company settled, and as part of the settlement agreed not to manufacture or sell any more motorcycle helmets.

        I'd say they got off easy - a bunch of lowlifes profiting by selling inadequate helmets to unwitting consumers. They'd be bankrupt if the NHTSA had taken them to court, and the public would be safer for it.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Why don't you get that WHEN A COMPANY SAYS THAT A PRODUCT MEETS MINIMUM GOVERNMENT REGULATED SAFETY STANDARDS, AND THEY DO NOT TIME AND TIME AGAIN, THAT THEY SHOULD NO LONGER BE ABLE TO SELL THE PRODUCTS THAT THEY ARE UNABLE TO MAKE IN A SAFE MANNER?

        Really. How old are you? I cannot believe that I'm having this discussion with a grown adult. Again, this is not buying green paint from Home Depot, and finding out it's red paint when you get home. This is something that's being sold as certified to be safe if your head hits something at a high rate of speed. IF YOU ARE DEAD OR IN A COMA, WHAT IS PROPER COMPENSATION FOR BEING LIED TO ABOUT THE SAFETY OF A PRODUCT?

        This is not the "government making decisions for people", because NOBODY who bought any of these helmets were afforded the luxury of knowing that they DID NOT MEET THE MINIMUM STANDARDS THAT THEY CLAIMED TO. There was NO decision that the consumer could make, because due to the nature of the product, THERE IS NO REASONABLE EXPECTATION THAT THEY COULD KNOW ABOUT THE FLAWS OF THE PRODUCT BEFORE PURCHASE.

        Or are you saying that whenever someone buys a helmet, they should purchase one to be destroyed in a testing lab first, before purchasing one to go on their head?

        And yes, I only buy helmets that ARE Snell rated, because I know that the gov't standard is bare minimum. BUT, it reasonable to expect a product that does have that minimum standard tag to MEET that minimum standard. It is reasonable to expect a company that makes helmets to be able to MEET that minimum standard. It is reasonable to expect a company that was found NOT to be meeting that minimum standard to make sure they do with the next revision, or new model.

        Also, for a bonus, I have NEVER heard someone rally against the government AND saying that lawyers are the best way to clear things up in one breath.

        WHO DO YOU THINK LICENSES LAWYERS, AND WHERE DO YOU THINK LEGAL CASES ARE ARGUED?
        • 4 Years Ago
        When it comes to safety equipment, it's not a matter of "Dur, maybe this will work". Either it does, or it doesn't.

        If its your brain smear, you don't have a second chance.

        These guys had more than one chance to release a helmet that was safe. It appears that they just don't care to bother to, or have the know-how to.

        Maybe you should read the article:

        "Apparently, the helmet manufacturer's first product was called the EXT001, and it failed to meet the safety agency's standards. So, it was recalled, and the new model was the EXT002. Sadly, the revised helmet still wasn't safe enough.

        And so the EXT003 was created. Guess what? It too failed the required safety standards. And so did the latest helmet, the EXT004. For those keeping track of such things, Advanced Carbon Composites built and sold some 17,000 helmets from 2005, none of which was ever deemed safe. What to do?"

        Soo, 3 versions of the helmet, over a 5 year span, AND NONE OF THEM WERE SAFE.

        If that's not a pattern of behavior, I do not know what is.

        If you cannot understand why it would be an issue, please PLEASE don't do anything in your life that involves the manufacture, sales, or design of any equipment that is either designed to keep you from being killed, or anything that could cause you to be killed.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @Rocketboy: Why don't you get that there are already more natural solutions in existence? And those do not involve government making decisions for people.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Edison wasn't in the business of manufacturing safety equipment, now was he? So shush.

        The product wasn't fit for its purpose. They should be prevented from selling it.

        Sell them as carbon fibre planters. Sell them as cf crockery. Sell them as cf potties. But don't sell them as safety helmets.
        • 4 Years Ago
        What don't you get that this isn't green paint that is red, but SOMETHING THAT IS SOLD TO SAVE A LIFE OR REDUCE INJURY????
        • 4 Years Ago
        You can walk outside your front door, and promptly get hit by a moving car. Sometimes they even crash into houses. Planes crash into houses.

        LIFE IS NO GUARANTEE OF SAFETY. Some people choose to not even wear a helmet on a bike.

        There is also the aspect of CAVEAT EMPTOR, Buyer Beware. DOT approval is not the same thing as "applied for", or "failed to get." Customers have a responsibility to know what they are buying, within reason.

        Evidently you have the reading comprehension of a 3 year old.

        I have not said that their product should be marked for sale, if it fails.

        I have said that this is what remains of a free country, and people are free to succeed or fail.

        LOOK at the Declaration of Independence. Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness are inalienable rights.

        DENYING someone the right to even ATTEMPT to do business as they choose, EVEN IF THEY FAIL AT IT, is a denial of liberty, and the denial of being able to pursue their happiness and lifestyle.

        If they fail, and cannot get certified... they shouldn't be certified. If that means non-saleable, that means non-saleable.

        If they somehow LIED, or committed other legal infractions, then they should be prosecuted in the court system.

        NHTSA has ABSOLUTELY NO AUTHORITY to tell someone that they can only own 3% of a company that makes motorcycle helmets from now into the future, just because they haven't had regulatory success with their motorcycle helmets yet so far.

        If that person has not been INCARCERATED, after being convicted of a crime, then their right to own WHATEVER THE HELL THEY WANT, as long as they can afford it, should not be infringed by some power-trippin' BUREAUCRAT.

        HAVE FUN WHEN THE BUREAUCRATS COME AFTER YOU for whatever you fail at doing.
      • 4 Years Ago
      i had bought the ext003 and they told me i would get an ext004 replacement, so i guess i'm outta luck? this was the only company to offer carbon fiber helmets
        • 4 Years Ago
        Huh? HJC FS-15 Carbon, Joe Rocket RKT101, Akuma Phantom II. All good carbon fiber helmets with certifications.

        You mean to say that Advanced Carbon Composites is the only company to offer USELESS carbon fiber helmets.
        • 4 Years Ago
        You should get a full refund - go to their website and click on the recall link
      • 4 Years Ago
      But I'd rather be thrown clear of the accident! .....oh wait.
      • 4 Years Ago
      LOL... man what a major FAIL.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Why were they allowed to put helmets on the market before having the proper approval?
      • 4 Years Ago
      Reminds me of the stupid beenie style helmets Harley guys wear. They offer absolutely no protection.
        • 4 Years Ago
        See how much protection you're throwing away with a beanie or open face helmet:

        http://bmwdean.com/swisher.htm
        • 4 Years Ago
        I've heard DOT is a sticker that the Chinese factory workers slap on just about anything while giggling. It means nothing.

        ECE and Snell are the "real" safety stickers (more the former).

        • 4 Years Ago
        Not really true. I had a low-side incident and the helmet (1/2) did its job. In fact, the minor injury I sustained was from the leather coat (lining stitching tore off 1st skin layer, snap punched through skin).

        So riding coats w/snaps were far more dangerous for me. As was not changing lanes when I saw the idiot cager stopped at the cross street.

        Sure, in a face plant situation anything less than full is dangerous, but 1/2 helmets are more than 'no' protection. And there is a vision improvement for half/three quarter over full, so that is actually an advantage there.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Cool looking helpmet, but brain-bucket type helmets are a false sense of security, no matter if they are DOT approved or not. Ever get struck in the face by a stone on your bike doing 70? Or how about sliding on the pavement as you nose grinds down to a nub. Full face helmets!

      Though I still believe in no helmet laws - natural selection will take care of the rest!
        • 4 Years Ago
        open faced helmets means more organs for the rest of us!
        • 4 Years Ago
        What if I am driving my car and accidentally hit a guy on a motorcycle (let's assume I wasn't being reckless). He wasn't wearing a helmet and he dies as a result of his injuries. Maybe he would have lived if he had been wearing a helmet... or if the person was in a car maybe the would have gotten at most whiplash.

        Can I be tried for involuntary manslaughter or whatever? If so, it doesn't seem right to me. I've been wondering this ever since I moved to a state that does not require helmets.

        If they ride with no helmet they are taking their life into their own hands.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Jeepers, I was being facetious about the helmet law comment!! BTW, Nation health care is a good thing (not being facetious!!) Stop being a paranoid conspirisist (you know, don't tread on me, keep you hands out of my pocket, Mr. Govt....blah blah BLAH)
        • 4 Years Ago
        I would love to see insurance companies insert a line in their motorcycle policies that voids all personal coverage if you ride without a helmet. There is absolutely no reason you *need* to ride around without one.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Glock23: "I, as a consumer, shouldn't have to pay higher premiums for someone's right to make risky decisions."

        That stance puts you on a pretty slippery slope. Exactly what qualifies as a risky decision? Caving? Skydiving? Driving a car without a seat belt? Riding a motorcycle? Walking on sidewalks? Living in an earthquake prone area?

        I don't have the answers either, but I see it as pretty difficult to draw lines.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @extinctdoughnut: My point is that suing you over someone's death in an _accident_ when the 'victim' had clearly insufficient head-protection (which was apparent cause of his death) is twisted in the first place. Accidents happen and he chose to wear the stupid helmet.
        • 4 Years Ago
        With a national health care system now in place paid for with our tax dollars, helmet laws are even MORE important. I don't like having to pay for others' stupidity. The freedom to not wear a helmet stops at my wallet. Even without nationalized health care, treatment for avoidable head trauma cases paid through insurance just contributed to rising rates for everyone else.

        As for this company, most reputable helmet manufacturers do their own testing to ensure compliance with regulations. Seems really short sighted to continue producing products you know won't pass.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @Yaroukh I'm not comprehending your statement, please re-phrase. Seems to me that savings lives is pretty important. I surely don't want to have to live with the guilt of killing someone that could have been prevented if they were wearing a helmet... much less go to jail for it.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @Nellydesign: Oh and BTW you made nice case for why is national health-care basically bad thing - it serves to some people to justify violating others' freedom.
        • 4 Years Ago
        "Though I still believe in no helmet laws - natural selection will take care of the rest!"

        I agree but with a caveat. If you choose not to wear a helmet, and get in a wreck, it should void your medical and insurance coverage.

        I, as a consumer, shouldn't have to pay higher premiums for someone's right to make risky decisions.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Heh. You can get these from Toys R Us -- normally branded "Baby Björn"...
      • 4 Years Ago
      Come on guys...it's not about safety, it's about looking cool and tough. Right?
        • 4 Years Ago
        The stig wears a helmet, the stig is also cooler then any guy wearing chaps and a faux stahlhelm. Just saying.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I wear all my gear all the time. I can't stand seeing guys wearing those kinds of helmets.

        As someone who has gone down before, I can't stress how important a full face helmet is compared to one of those little brain bucket helmets. I've tried talking to a few of the guys that wear them that I see around, and they just laugh it off and say they'd rather wear what they do than look like a space man with leather and a full face on.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Yep, yourself and a few other million or so rugged individualists!
      • 4 Years Ago
      They'll probably classify them as novelty and still sell them.
        • 4 Years Ago
        And that's only good.
        It is assurance companies' business to look at what did I do to protect myself, not government's.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I don't know... maybe because some people believe they should be able to do their own business without asking for permission first?
        • 4 Years Ago
        @Rocketboy: "Because people should not make their own decision, we know better what's good for them."
        I guess you might like ban on skiing, because why should people hurt themselves on the slopes? How about banning motorbikes at all? Car is always safer than a bike.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Again, you refuse to address the issue at hand because you are so wrapped up in nanny-state.

        I remove myself from this because you are unwilling to look at the issue, and instead you are too wrapped up in your false idology.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Is it possible for you to make a an intelligent argument? Is it possible for you understand what you are arguing for, and what someone is arguing against? Because to make up a quote that is IN NO WAY WHAT I AM ARGUING is stupid, pathetic, childish, and just shows that you DO NOT understand ANY of the points that I am making.

        THEY SHOULD BE BANNED FROM MAKING HELMETS BECAUSE THEY CANNOT BE TRUSTED TO MAKE ONE THAT MEETS THE SAFETY STANDARDS THAT THEY ARE CLAIMING THAT IT DOES.

        Sorry, I don't like to yell, but your arguments have NOTHING to do with the issue at hand.

        If I get on a bicycle, I know that there's no metal around me to protect me, nor can I move very fast.

        If I get on a motorcycle, I know that there's no metal around me to protect me.

        If I go skiing, I know that I will be traveling down a snowy hillside at a possible high rate of speed.

        If I buy a HELMET, I should reasonably expect the helmet to stand up to the safety standards that they claim it can, AND AS IT IS SAFETY EQUIPMENT, I expect it to maintain a baseline of safety.

        By your standards, I should be able to sell glass shard filled doughnuts labeled as "Maple Creme", and just go "Dur, I'm sorry, I won't do it again" every time I do.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @RocketBoy: Haha, too bad you can't write in bold, it would be even more truth.

        No matter how hard you try it still goes like this: "More nanny-government && less personal responsibility traded for a bit of stupid freedom." Who cares anyways when we have another opportunity to decide what customers should be allowed to buy...
        • 4 Years Ago
        Not if someone is selling something as 'safe', when it's not.

        Multiple times.

        The whole keep gov't out of my life thing makes sense up until the point where you're arguing that someone should be able to sell sub-standard safety equipment under the banner of being safe.
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