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Tuesday, May 26, 2015

USA - US aims to crack down on 'novelty' motorcycle helmets

Up until now there has been NO attempt to honestly regulate sales of non-conforming helmets to the public.
Law already protects the buying public as much, or more, than we need to be protected.…/us-aims-to-crack-down-on-novelty-…/

In California, it is against the law to sell a helmet claiming it is "DOT approved."
There are no DOT Approved products.

California Business and Professions Code makes it illegal to sell anything using false or misleading information.
The BOLT of CA website has the specifics.

Not exactly.
The DOT means "the manufacturer certifies that it is compliant."
In other words, legal until tested by a laboratory and proven non-compliant with federal standard. That is true in every state.

It's just that people in every state THINK the letters DOT means it has the DOT's approval.
CA law says you cant sell "snake oil" but isn't it (shouldn't it be) that way in all states?

Federal standard states when a manufacturer puts DOT on a helmet, it is the legal presumption the helmet is legal. It can only be shown to be illegal if the manufacturer "recalls" it, and/or if a government agency pats for an independent laboratory to conduct a scientific test described in 49CFR571.218 (FMCSS218).
Federal court for the 9 western states said it must also be proven the helmet wearer knew the helmet was illegal.
For a lab to test, 8 identical helmets (model # and size) are tested in various ways, which destroys all helmets. Tests must be performed on new helmets, not on previously worn helmets.

U.S. transportation regulators on Wednesday called for stronger rules for motorcycle helmets, proposing additional safety requirements in an effort to crack down on "novelty" helmets that do not meet federal standards.
The Department of Transportation said such uncertified helmets are unsafe and do not protect riders in crashes despite being sold and marketed for use on the road.

Its proposal would further define what makes an acceptable motorcycle helmet, from its thickness to its compression ability, in an attempt to help riders and state law enforcement officials identify inferior helmets.
Such proposed changes aim "to reduce fatalities and injuries resulting from traffic accidents involving use of motorcycle helmets" that fail to meet federal standards, Department of Transportation regulators said.
Deaths stemming from motorcycle crashes are disproportionately high, they said, in part due to the high number of motorcyclists wearing substandard helmets.
Novelty helmets generally cover a smaller area of the head, have thin liners and lack the ability to absorb the force of a crash, the department said. They are often sold with disclaimers stating that they are not for highway use "yet they are sold to highway users and used in great numbers by motorcyclists," the regulators said.
It is not clear why so many riders use inferior helmets, but part of the problem seems to be that riders do not understand the risks, the regulators said. Novelty helmets can also be cheaper and appear "more comfortable or stylish," they added.
Tougher standards will help authorities prosecute sellers of noncompliant helmets in states where helmets are mandatory, regulators said. Just three of the 50 U.S. states - Illinois, Iowa and New Hampshire - do not require motorcycle riders to wear helmets, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, a nonprofit research group.

The public can comment on the proposal for 60 days before the department moves to issue its final regulation.