Williams, Walsh & O'Connor, LLC

What are the motorcycle helmet laws in CT? Should they be changed?

As motorcycle riders hits the Connecticut roadways this summer, the debate about whether or not to toughen the state's helmet law continues. In fact, many believe the current law, which only requires helmets for riders and passengers under the age of 18, simply does not go far enough to protect motorcyclists and their passengers.

While many motorcyclists prefer having freedom to decide if they want to wear a helmet or not, the arguments for strengthening the law and requiring all riders to wear protective headgear typically focus on two factors:

  • An age-specific helmet law is ineffective since police cannot easily determine the age of a rider; and
  • Helmets can prevent many motorcycle-related fatalities.

As to the second factor mentioned above, there is actually significant research to support the idea that requiring helmets can help reduce the number of fatalities caused by motorcycle crashes.

In fact, according to the most recent data reported by the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) - a research tool made available by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) - an alarming 4,586 motorcycle riders and passengers died in accidents in the U.S. during 2014 alone. Even worse, of those killed, roughly 37 percent of riders and 45 percent of passengers were not wearing helmets at the time of the crash. There can't be any dispute that at least some of these victims may still be alive today had they been wearing helmets.

Also, according to the same data, a whopping 94.6 percent of motorcyclists involved in fatal crashes during 2014 were over the age of 20. This fact clearly illustrates that the risks do not end once a rider reaches 18-years-old, so why should helmets no longer be requires at that age? Good question.

Ultimately, this debate will likely continue for some time, with lawmakers having to balance individual freedoms with public safety. Regardless of their ultimate decision, however, one thing remains clear: motorcycle accidents will continue to occur, especially since many accidents are actually caused by other drivers on the road. If you or a loved one has been injured in a motorcycle accident, you may have legal options available, which is why you should contact an attorney as soon as possible.

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