“National Transportation Safety Board Calls for Nationwide Helmet Laws The Motorcycle Riders Foundation reports that the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is calling on all States that do not have a mandatory helmet law to adopt one. The NTSB has a “top ten most wanted” list that has never before addressed motorcycle helmet law, but does now. They are asking for every State to enact mandatory helmet law for every rider and passenger on every motorcycle. This is a disturbing, but not surprising, recommendation by the NTSB. They had a forum in 2007 where they brought in some motorcycle safety professionals and asked them a few questions, they then relied on their motorcycle crash investigations, a whopping six in total crash investigations to issue some safety recommendations. This pales in comparison to the over 150,000 airline incident investigations, over 90,000 other surface transportation investigations, which does more than qualify them to issue such recommendations.
But investigating just six motorcycle accidents and now they are the experts? What’s also surprising is the fact that motorcycle deaths declined last year. For the first time in 11 years motorcycle fatalaties went down, and not just a few percentage points. Motorcycle fatalities were down 16 percent last year. And it is not because people were riding less, vehicle miles traveled for motorcycles was down just a half a precent over the previous year, according to the US DOT.
The NTSB has no regulatory ability and no law making ability, just the power to issue recommendations to the States, industry and the Federal government. We at the MRF are troubled by the NTSB issuing recommendations about anything motorcycle, with such a lack of expertise in the arena of motorcycling and a seemingly nonchalant attitude towards the motorcyclists of this country.