Auto club opposes motorcycle helmet bill

Editor,

On May 8, the House Judiciary B Committee adjourned without taking a vote on House Bill 109, which would eliminate North Carolina's mandatory motorcycle helmet law.

AAA Carolinas is strongly opposed to any changes in the state's current helmet law.

The most recent statistics show that one in eight North Carolina traffic fatalities involves a motorcycle. If North Carolina’s universal motorcycle helmet law is repealed or altered, this number will increase.

Some motorcyclists want the “choice” to wear a helmet, but experience has shown many won’t and don’t use helmets in states with weak or no helmet laws.

Every government or traffic safety-oriented agency that has analyzed motorcycle helmet usage has concluded that helmets save lives.

According to a 2012 Governors Highway Safety Association report, when universal helmet laws like North Carolina’s were weakened in other states, motorcycle fatalities increased. In Arkansas deaths went up 21 percent, in Texas 31 percent, in Kentucky 58 percent, in Florida 81 percent  and in Louisiana deaths increased 108 percent.

North Carolina was ranked first nationally in lives and money saved due to its helmet law in a June 2012 study by the Center for Disease Control.

If the helmet law is repealed, three things are certain:

• Motorcycle fatalities will increase.

• Insurance costs for everyone will go up due to brain and other serious motorcycle-related injuries.

• North Carolina will lose its only number one status for a traffic safety law.

Why change a clearly successful law?

– David E. Parsons, President and CEO of AAA Carolinas