IMPACTS OF MOTORCYCLE HELMET LAW REPEAL IN SOUTH DAKOTA: EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Effective July 1, 1977, the South Dakota statute mandating helmet use by all motorcyclists was modified such that adult cyclists were no longer required to use protective headgear. The present report describes changes in levels of helmet use and in types of injury sustained by motorcycle accident victims between pre- and post-repeal periods. State-wide surveys of helmet use were conducted in 1976 (pre-repeal) and in 1977 (post-repeal). A total of 25,054 cyclists were observed during the two periods. Overall levels of helmet use dropped from 99.6 percent in 1976 to 57.3 percent in 1977 for cycle drivers, with a decline from 99.3 percent to 60.7 percent observed for passengers. Decreases in helmet use were large and significant for all time-of-day periods, day-of-week periods, and for all roadway types. Analysis of medical records data obtained for motorcycle accident victims showed statistically significant increases in the incidence of head/skull injuries between pre- and post-repeal periods and between helmeted and unhelmeted drivers. Recorded levels of injury severity were significantly higher for unhelmeted drivers in both periods. Despite significant changes in incidence of head injuries, the statewide fatal, injury, and total crashes were not substantially different between periods.

  • Corporate Authors:

    University of South Dakota, Vermillion

    Human Factors Laboratory
    Vermillion, SD  United States  57069

    National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

    1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
    Washington, DC  United States  20590
  • Authors:
    • Ellingstad, V S
  • Publication Date: 1979-1

Media Info

  • Pagination: 36 p.

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00197491
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Source Agency: Transportation Statistical Reference File, TSC
  • Report/Paper Numbers: DOT-HS-803-960 Final Rpt., HFL-78-8
  • Contract Numbers: DOT-HS-6-01423
  • Files: NTIS, TSR, TRIS, USDOT
  • Created Date: Jul 31 1979 12:00AM