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July 18, 2012
CDC finds motorcycle helmet laws boost use, save money

Annual cost savings in states with universal motorcycle helmet laws were nearly four times greater than in states without those laws, according to a study published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Universal laws require that riders and passengers wear helmets every time they ride.

Savings from helmet use (medical, productivity, and other types) ranged from $394 million per year in California, which has a universal law, to $2.6 million in New Mexico, with a partial law. Partial laws require that only certain riders, such as those under the age of 21, wear helmets.

The CDC says that between 2008 and 2012, 12 percent of motorcyclists involved in fatal crashes in states with universal helmet laws were not wearing helmets. The rate was much higher in states with partial or no helmet laws.

“Increasing motorcycle helmet use can save lives and money,” concludes CDC Director Dr. Thomas R. Frieden. “In 2010 more than $3 billion in economic costs were saved due to helmet use in the United States. Another $1.4 billion could have been saved if all motorcyclists had worn helmets.”

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