Study Reveals Impact of Repealing Helmet Law

By  | 

Michigan's helmet law was erased one year ago, and new research shows that the change may have cost some people their lives.

"Look, we've done the experiment. And exactly what we said would happen did happen. Fatalities have increased, injuries have increased, and the usage rate is going down." said Heather Drake of AAA Michigan.

The study, conducted by the University of Michigan, revealed that helmet use dropped by nearly 25%. It also revealed that of the 55 helmetless drivers that died in 2012, 26 of those could have been saved if the driver had been wearing a helmet. And of the 195 who suffered major injuries, 49 of those could have suffered less serious injuries.

But according to supporters of the repeal helmets aren't the whole story.

"What can we do about distracted driving and people and cell phones? Do we need to look at our young people and speeding and statistics, and do we need to put more restrictions on untrained drivers and motorists? Those are issues that are actually going to do something about reducing accidents and fatalities," said Herb Rials of ABATE Michigan.

Michigan is the latest state to repeal its helmet mandate, but 19 states still have very strict Hemet laws.

But no state bordering Michigan requires helmets and supporters say the repeal has brought more motorcyclists to the state and increased tourism.

Those who want to bring the helmet law back plan to petition the legislature, and hope that these new numbers will bring credit to their case.

"I think it's gonna take a long time. It took 38 years for the other side to get it repealed, so we don't think it's going to happen overnight. But we'll work as hard as we can because we think saving lives is important," said Lori Conarton of the Insurance Institute of Michigan.