Attempt to Repeal North Carolina Helmet Law
Charlotte, NC Personal Injury Lawyer
In North Carolina, motorcycle operators over the age of 21 are required by statute to wear helmets while riding their motorcycles anywhere in the state. However, in early April, a bill was introduced in the North Carolina legislature that would eliminate the requirement and, instead, require riders to carry $10,000 more in insurance. Opponents to the North Carolina helmet law have attempted to repeal that legislation every two years during the past decade. During a failed attempt to change the law in May of 2013, several emergency room doctors testified in front of the General Assembly to keep the helmet law in effect. The bill’s current sponsor stated that repealing the helmet law will bring tourism dollars from neighboring states and will keep local money from going to South Carolina, which does not have a mandatory helmet law.
N.C. Motorcycle Accident Trends
Motorcycles are a very popular form of transportation in North Carolina. According to the North Carolina Governor’s Highway Safety Program, from 2000 to 2009, motorcycle registrations per capita increased by 73%. Unsurprisingly, the number of fatalities increased during that period as well, now accounting for 13% of all traffic fatalities in the state, up from 7% in 2001. In 2011, there were 158 motorcycle rider fatalities in North Carolina, which included 145 motorcycle operators and 13 passengers. Additionally, motorcycle fatalities were down by 19 percent in 2011 compared to 2010, but fatalities have been gradually increasing between 2001 and 2011.
Benefits of North Carolina’s Helmet Law
According to a study of the impact of North Carolina’s helmet law on hospital admissions and traumatic brain injuries (TBI), the law prevented as estimated 190 to 226 hospital admissions of North Carolina motorcyclists with TBI in 2011. Additionally, the law averted hospital charges to taxpayer-funded sources estimated at between 9.5 million and 11.6 million for 2011. The study concluded that the universal motorcycle helmet law “generates health and economic benefits for the state and its taxpayers.” In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), North Carolina leads the country with regard to lives and costs saved due to its helmet law. CDC estimates that, in 2010, the law saved 79.8 lives per 100,000 registered motorcycles and $1,627 in costs per registered motorcycle.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), motorcyclists are more than 26 times more likely than passenger car occupants to die in a traffic crash. In 2012, motorcyclists accounted for 15 percent of all traffic fatalities, with a total of 4,957 fatalities. With regard to helmet use, NHTSA estimates that helmets saved the lives of 1,699 motorcyclists in 2012 and that, if all motorcyclists had worn helmets, an additional 781 lives could have been saved. In fact, helmets are 37 percent effective in preventing fatal injuries to motorcycle riders, which means that for every 100 motorcycle rider fatalities, 37 could have been saved if all 100 had worn helmets. 42 percent of the 4,957 motorcyclists killed in motor vehicle traffic crashes were not helmeted, and in North Carolina, 12 percent of the 198 fatalities in 2012 were not helmeted.
Contact the Personal Injury Law Firm of Bice Law:
The personal injury firm of Bice Law will examine your case to determine the type and amount of damages that your injury warrants, including payments for medical expenses, lost income, pain and suffering, and any permanent disability. We’ll determine whether an out-of-court settlement or trial is the best strategy to obtain maximum benefits for you or your family. If you have suffered injury or harm because of someone else’s actions, take the first step to protect your legal rights – contact the personal injury firm of Bice Law serving both North and South Carolina. You only have a limited time after your injury to file a claim, so act quickly. Call 877-BICE-877 today or submit an online request to get a free consultation with a personal injury attorney. We serve families across both North Carolina and South Carolina.