AIA Opposes Repeal of Pa. Motorcycle Helmet Law

June 19, 2003

The American Insurance Association joined Western Pennsylvania’s Hospital Council in opposing the repeal of the state’s 35-year old motorcycle helmet safety law (See IJ Website June 18), calling it “dangerous public policy.”

“S. 259, passed by the Senate on Monday, will exact a terrible toll on Pennsylvania’s citizens in lost lives, more severe traffic crash injuries and increased medical costs,” said the AIA bulletin.

“In addition to the horrible human costs, repealing the helmet law also will cost Pennsylvania’s taxpayers more money,” stated David Snyder, AIA VP and assistant general counsel. “For example, approximately 24 percent of motor vehicle injury medical costs are covered by government health insurance programs. This means that the taxpayers will be forced to pay the bill for the increase in medical costs resulting from the eminently avoidable increase in tragic traffic crashes.”

The AIA cited a study by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, which found that “As states have repealed or substantially limited their helmet laws, helmet-wearing rates have dropped and motorcycle-fatality rates have grown.” The NHTSA study estimated that “Helmets are about 29 percent effective in preventing motorcycle deaths and about 67 percent effective in preventing brain injuries. Motorcyclists without helmets are 40 percent more likely to die from a head injury.”

Snyder warned, “employers, consumers and health care providers will pay a price through the loss of productivity due to more people being involved in more severe traffic crashes and the attendant increase in medical costs.” He called repealing the helmet law “just plain bad public policy,” and said, “the AIA is calling on the members of Pennsylvania’s House of Representatives to oppose this misguided measure. Preserving this critical safety law will be a victory for all of Pennsylvania’s citizens.”

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