NHTSA updating motorcycle helmet laws

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has updated the motorcycle helmet law in an attempt to stop people from wearing improperly certified helmets and novelty helmets. The law doesn't change the construction of helmets directly, but changes the way they're labeled, to make it more difficult to mimic DOT compliance certifications.

Now, helmets that conform to Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 218 will carry a sticker with the manufacturer's name, the helmet model and the words "DOT FMVSS No. 218 Certified." The move to make helmets safer comes after the number of riders sporting unsafe and novelty brain buckets increased dramatically in 2010 over 2009.

According to NHTSA statistics, in 2010, only 54 percent of motorcyclists wore a DOT-approved lid. Around 14 percent wore a novelty helmet, and 32 percent went without a helmet altogether. In 2009, those numbers were 67 percent, 9 percent and 24 percent. In 2010, 75 percent of riders who did elect to wear a helmet wore a DOT-compliant one. In 2009, that number was 86 percent.

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