The old motorcycle helmet laws saved Michigan money, says new CDC study

Jun 15, 2012

A new federal study says universal motorcycle helmet laws increase helmet use and can lead to cost savings.

Motorcyclists that died in crashes between 2008 and 2010 in states with partial helmet laws were 5-times less likely to be wearing a helmet compared to riders in states with universal helmet laws. 

Rebecca Naumann is an epidemiologist with the Centers for Disease Control, and is the lead author of the study.  She says the old helmet law in Michigan was a cost-saver.

"Per 100-thousand registered motorcycles, they [Michigan] were saving about $55-million dollars at that time."

This ranked Michigan 14th in the nation in terms of this cost-savings.

Michigan recently changed its universal helmet law to a partial helmet law.  The partial law allows some certified Michigan riders, who are over 21 and carry additional insurance, to ride without a helmet.

Naumann points to Florida as a cautionary tale of what can happen when universal helmet laws are repealed.

"Their motorcycle death rate increased by 21-percent after changing their law, and their hospital admission for motorcyclists with head, brain, or skull injuries actually went up by about 82-percent."

- Nishant Sekaran, Michigan Radio Newsroom