NTSB Votes to Encourage Mandatory Helmet Law - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

9/11/07

NTSB Votes to Encourage Mandatory Helmet Law

Texas is considering putting the brakes on what appears to be the most serious risk in riding a motorcycle...no helmet.

Right now in Texas, riders over age 21 don't have to wear a helmet as long as they take a safety course and carry proof of medical insurance. But with an increase in accidents over the last few year, the National Transportation Safety Board voted unanimously Tuesday to encourage every state to pass a law that makes helmets mandatory for every rider.

It's a move that has sparked a huge debate among those who like the easy rider freedom that comes with no head gear.

"If you're not a motorcycle rider it's hard to understand. A lot of times, the motorcycle can be heightened by taking off the helmet occasionally. Motorcycle riders should have the freedom to make that decision on their own," said Jeff Hennie, Motorcycle Riders Foundation.

"Since 1997 to 2007 the fatality rate has doubled - and the simple act of donning that helmet will begin that process of preventing that type of fatality and serious injury," says Mark Rosenker, NTSB Chairman.  

The NTSB says in nearly half of all fatal motorcycle accidents riders are not wearing helmets. And right now only 20 states require riders to wear a helmet. That's down from 47 in the mid-1970's.

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