The South Dakota statute mandating helmet use by motorcyclists was modified, effective July 1, 1977, to effectively repeal the law for adult cyclists. The present report assesses changes in levels of helmet use and in state-wide accident experience between pre- and post-repeal periods. State-wide surveys of helmet use involving observations of 12,228 cyclists in 1976 and 12,826 cyclists in 1977 showed statistically significant declines in rates of helmet use for all sub-sets of cyclists. Large decreases in helmet use were observed for all time-of-day and day-of-week periods, and for all roadway types. Although no detectable changes were observed in state-wide fatal, injury, or total crash rates, analyses of medical data for accident victims showed substantial evidence of negative impact of helmet law repeal. During the 24 month study period, head/skull injuries were recorded for 9.2% of helmeted riders compared to 21.1% of unhelmeted riders. Injury severity was also significantly greater for unhelmeted than for helmeted accident victims.

  • Supplemental Notes:
    • See also report dated January 1979, PB-295427.
  • 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:
    • Struckman-Johnson, C
    • Ellingstad, V S
  • Publication Date: 1979-1

Media Info

  • Features: Appendices;
  • Pagination: 175 p.

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00198216
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Source Agency: National Technical Information Service
  • Report/Paper Numbers: DOT-HS-803-997 Final Rpt., HRL-78-7
  • Contract Numbers: DOT-HS-6-01423
  • Files: NTIS, TRIS, USDOT
  • Created Date: Sep 15 1979 12:00AM