Evaluation of the Reinstatement of the Universal Motorcycle Helmet Law in Louisiana

Louisiana has enacted and repealed motorcycle helmet laws many times. Louisiana first adopted an all-rider motorcycle helmet law in 1968, amended it in 1976 to require helmet use only by riders under the age of 18, and reenacted a universal helmet law in 1982. In 1999, the State amended that law to require helmet use only by motorcyclists under 18 and riders over 18 who did not have a minimum of $10,000 in medical insurance coverage. In 2004, Louisiana reinstated its universal helmet law that required all motorcyclists, riders and passengers, to wear helmets all the time. This study examined rates of motorcycle helmet usage, fatalities, and injuries. Observed helmet use rose to 100 percent after reinstatement of the universal helmet law. Helmet use in motorcycle crashes during the period (1999 – 2003) without the helmet law was 42.3% (pre-reinstatement) and increased to 87% in 2004 – 2005 (post-reinstatement). Motorcycle crashes increased from 1999 to 2005 in Louisiana. Fatal crashes decreased in 2004 for the first time since the 1999 repeal, increasing slightly in 2005, but with fewer than before the law was reinstated in Louisiana. The national trend showed a steady increase in fatal motorcycle crashes during this time period. Kentucky, a comparison State, also showed steadily increasing fatal crashes. The drop in fatal motorcycle crashes in Louisiana was not replicated in a nearby State, and is therefore likely attributable to the law change. Motorcycle fatalities had been accounting for a larger proportion of all motor vehicle fatalities in Louisiana doubling between 1999 and 2003 (4% to 9%), slightly decreasing for the first time in 2005 (8%). The proportion of fatal and serious injury motorcycle crashes to all motorcycle crashes (fatal crashes, serious injury, moderate injuries, complaint of injury, and property damage only) declined after the helmet law was reinstated in Louisiana.


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Print
  • Edition: Final Report
  • Features: Appendices; Figures; References; Tables;
  • Pagination: 52p

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01108416
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Report/Paper Numbers: HS-810 956
  • Contract Numbers: DTNH22-05-D-15043
  • Files: HSL, TRIS, USDOT
  • Created Date: Aug 8 2008 9:21AM