Helmet law repeal will result in more traffic fatalities and costs, AAA reports
AAA Michigan is disappointed that legislation which would allow some motorcyclists to ride without a helmet on the state’s roadways has passed the Michigan State House by a 24-14 vote today (March 28.) The legislation is poor public policy and will increase motorcycle fatalities and injuries, AAA Michigan reports.
Senate Bill 291 would allow a person to ride without a helmet if he or she were at least 21 years old, had been licensed to operate a motorcycle for at least two years or had successfully completed a mandatory safety course. A version of the bill, sponsored by Sen. Phil Pavlov, R-St. Clair Township, has already been approved in the state House in November. The bill now goes to Governor Rick Snyder, who has not said whether he will sign the bill.
Every year, challengers of Michigan’s mandatory motorcycle helmet law try to get the law repealed without regard for the common good. Surveys of AAA Michigan members over many years show overwhelming support for keeping the current mandatory helmet law, a law which has been on the books for more than three decades.
A repeal of the motorcycle helmet law will result in at least 30 additional motorcycle fatalities each year, along with 127 more incapacitating injuries and $129 million in added economic costs to Michigan citizens. This analysis by the Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning is based on the experience of other states where similar measures have been enacted.
As evidenced by increased medical costs passed on to taxpayers, motorcycle deaths and long-term catastrophic injuries are on the rise.
Motorcycle crashes account for a disproportionate share of money paid out of the Michigan Catastrophic Claims Association (MCCA), a fund which is supported by a surcharge on every auto insurance policy in Michigan. Although motorcyclists represent 1.9 percent of the assessments paid into the MCCA, they account for 5 percent of all money paid out and 7 percent of all claims reported. Since its inception in 1978, MCCA has reimbursed member insurers more than $321 million for 712 motorcycle injury claims exceeding the threshold.
AAA Michigan is part of The Auto Club Group (ACG), the second largest AAA club in North America. ACG and its affiliates provide membership, travel, insurance and financial services offerings to approximately 8.5 million members across 11 states and two U.S. territories, including Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Michigan, Nebraska, North Dakota, Wisconsin, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands; most of Illinois, Minnesota and Tennessee; and a portion of Indiana. ACG belongs to the national AAA federation with nearly 53 million members in the United States and Canada and whose mission includes protecting and advancing freedom of mobility and improving traffic safety.
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