Motorcycle Helmet Law Debate

3277 WordsApr 16, 201214 Pages
The 40 Year Debate; Are Mandatory Universal Motorcycle Helmet Laws Right or Wrong? Across the United States, every year millions of license drivers choose to ride motorcycles rather than drive automobiles for a variety of reasons; Reasons range from individual pleasure to a much more cost effective way to travel. The universal motorcycle helmet law debate over the past forty years has revolved around whether the federal government should adopt a universal helmet law that mandates all motorcyclists to wear helmets at all times when riding to reduce societies economic cost, or whether the individual rider should have the right to choose rather to wear or not wear a helmet. In 1967, nearly all States implemented a mandatory…show more content…
Then, By 1975, 47 states and the District of Columbia had adopted universal helmet laws. This trend reversed dramatically in the latter half of 1975 when Congress acquiesced to the pressure exerted by groups such as ABATE, and amended the Act to remove the contingency of federal highway funds on universal helmet laws. The amendment led to the repeal of universal coverage in 27 states shortly thereafter (Derrick, Allison J., and Lee D. Faucher 229). Between 1989 and 1994, Congress once again began to try and influence the States to mandate a universal motorcycle helmet law by implementing the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991, also known as ISTEA. ISTEA provided special "incentive" grants to states with both universal motorcycle helmet laws and passenger vehicle safety belt use laws. A state qualified for a first-year grant by having these two laws in effect. In subsequent years, the state also was required to exceed minimum motorcycle helmet and safety belt use levels (helmet use of 75 percent in the second year and 85 percent in the third year). Twenty-three states and the District of Columbia received grants for one or more of the fiscal years 1992, 1993, and 1994 for which the grants were authorized (R.G. Ulmer and D.F. Preusser 5). The ISTEA Act was much more effect on the universal safety belt law rather than the universal helmet laws; States were more successful in

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