Results are reviewed of motorcycle helmet compliance testing conducted by Southwest Research Institute and Dayton T. Brown, Inc. under contract to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. In all, 486 helmet models were tested, 74 from the pre-FMVSS (Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard) 218 period and 412 from the post-standard period. Performance was measured in terms of impact attenuation, penetration, and retention under four environmental conditions (ambient, low and high temperature, and water immersion). Helmet performance is compared for the pre-standard period (1971-1972) and for yearly subdivisions of the post-standard period (1974-1978); a simple pass/fail comparison scheme is applied. Passing rates of the helmet models were 12.2% for the pre-standard and 64.6% (overall) for the post-standard period. Failure was primarily for noncompliance with impact attenuation criteria. Typically, a helmet would fail the 200 g-2 msec. criterion on the second drop, under low temperature, and upon the flat anvil. At the 200 g level, no response time exceeded 3 msec.; no helmet failed the 150 g-4 msec. criterion. Heavier helmets generally had higher passing rates than lighter ones. Helmet coverage (partial, full, or complete facial) and passing rates did not show a strong correlation, although tests in the last two years favored helmets with full and complete facial coverage. Although polycarbonate shells had lower failing rates than fiberglass shells, more detailed studies are required. It is concluded that FMVSS 218 has been effective in improving the quality of helmets.

  • Supplemental Notes:
    • Conference held in Washington, D.C., 18-23 May 1980. Also published in HS-029 702, International Motorcycle Safety Conference Proceedings. Volume 3, p 1325-45.
  • Corporate Authors:

    Motorcycle Safety Foundation

    780 Elkridge Landing Road
    Linthicum, MD  United States  21090
  • Authors:
    • Liu, W J
  • Publication Date: 1980

Media Info

  • Features: References;
  • Pagination: 21 p.

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00390521
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Source Agency: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
  • Report/Paper Numbers: HS-029 719
  • Files: HSL, USDOT
  • Created Date: Nov 30 1984 12:00AM