THE REPEAL OF HELMET USE LAWS AND INCREASED MOTORCYCLE MORTALITY IN THE UNITED STATES, 1975-1978.

Monthly mortality figures for motorcyclists for each state in the United States were obtained for the period January 1975 through December 1978. Twenty-four states revealed or weakened their helmet use laws at various dates within this period. Two of these states subsequently reintroduced a strengthened law. This paper measures the effects of these law changes on motorcyclist mortality. The states that repealed or weakened their helmet laws were matched with one or more states from the same geographic region that either did not have helmet use laws or did not change such existing laws in this four-year period. The effect of weakening the law in each state was then estimated in three steps: 1) the mortality data from each state for the period prior to repeal were regressed on smoothed data from the matched states; 2) these equations were used to predict the numbers of motorcyclists deaths that would have been expepted in each state in the period following the repeal or weakening of the law if the laws hd not been changed; 3) these numbers of expected deaths were then compared with the actual numbes of deaths tht occurred. Of the 26 law changes, it was found that 23 resulted in a greater number of actual deaths in the period following the repeal or weakening of the law than were predicted to occur if the law had not been changed. It is estimated that the repeals or weakening of motorcyclist helmet use laws were typically followed by almost 40 per cent increases in the numbers of fatally injured motorcylists. (A)

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  • Supplemental Notes:
    • Sponsored by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
  • Corporate Authors:

    American Public Health Association

    800 I Street, NW
    Washington, DC  United States  20001-3710

    American Public Health Association

    1740 Broadway
    New York, NY  United States  10019
  • Authors:
    • WATSON, G S
    • Zador, P K
    • Wolks, A
  • Publication Date: 1980-6

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Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00319868
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Source Agency: National Safety Council Safety Research Info Serv
  • Report/Paper Numbers: HS-030 260
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Feb 6 1981 12:00AM