Friday, May 29, 2015

Government Cracks Down on Novelty Motorcycle Helmets

Who is responsible for regulating product safety?

In order to be considered legal under many state laws, motorcycle helmets must be certified with the Department of Transportation. Regulators for the Department of Transportation found a substantial number of consumers are using uncertified, novelty helmets unaware that the helmets may not protect them in crashes or are not certified for highway use.

The regulators proposed tougher standards in the form of changes in the certification process and changes in requirements for certifying helmets for safety. The proposed changes are designed to help reduce the current high instances of fatalities and injuries in motorcycle accidents because cyclists are wearing uncertified helmets.

Novelty helmets are problematic for a number of reasons. They are not built to withstand crash impacts, leading to higher instances of fatalities and injuries in motorcycle traffic incidents. The helmets do not fully cover a person’s head and have thin liners, which leads to substandard crash absorption abilities. Although the helmets come with disclaimers that they are not for highway use, consumers tend to ignore or misunderstand the risks associated with using these helmets. Regulators found despite the warnings, large numbers of these novelty helmets were sold to cyclists intending to wear them as a riding helmet. Cyclists often choose novelty helmets because the helmets can be less expensive and more comfortable and stylish than approved helmets.

Under the new standards, authorities can prosecute sellers of novelty helmets for noncompliance in states where helmets are mandatory. Currently, only three states, Illinois, Iowa and New Hampshire, do not have laws requiring cyclists to wear helmets. The proposal is pending, and the public can comment before the Department of Transportation finalizes the standards set forth in the regulation.

If you or anyone you know suffered injuries as a result of a motorcycle or car accident, contact the Law Firm of Flora Templeton Stuart. Our attorneys have extensive experience representing injured parties throughout Kentucky and Tennessee. Contact our office at (888) 782-9090 to schedule a consultation.