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Helmet Stats Just Don’t Add Up

A bill to repeal Nevada’s mandatory motorcycle helmet law was proposed in the 2007 Legislature. At a hearing on the bill, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported that “witnesses said the typical traumatic head injury accident costs $2 million over the lifetime of the survivor and 50 such accidents would be expected a year in Nevada if the helmet law was repealed.”

As for the financial estimate – which to the best of my knowledge was never sourced, let alone verified – that’s a matter for insurance companies. But it’s the claim that Nevada would be “expected” to see 50 such accidents if the mandatory helmet law is repealed that caught my attention.

Our neighbor, Utah, has about the same population as Nevada. And Utah, unlike Nevada, does not have a mandatory helmet law. Motorcyclists in Utah, unlike in Nevada, are treated like free adults and allowed to decide for themselves whether or not to wear a helmet.

Now, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration web site, Nevada had 50 motorcycle fatalities in 2006, while Utah had 24.  And in 2005 Nevada had 56 motorcycle fatalities, while Utah had 23. Seems to me the NHTSA statistics indicate that Nevada’s mandatory helmet law is killing more people than it’s “saving.”

YEA’S, ONE LONELY NAY, AND THE I-DON’T-KNOWS

Republicans in favor of AB 300 – the mandatory motorcycle helmet repeal bill – are Assemblymen John Carpenter, Pete Goicoechea, Ty Cobb, Ed Goedhart, Don Guatavson, John Hambrick, Dick McArthur and James Settlemeyer.

Sadly, the ONLY Assembly Republican currently known to be opposed to this bill is their leader, Assemblywoman Heidi Gansert – who also voted for the third largest tax hike in Nevada’s history a couple weeks back, is not co-sponsoring a Republican spending restraint bill, is not co-sponsoring a Republican tax restraint bill, is not co-sponsoring a Republican parental school choice bill…but is sponsoring a constitutionally questionable and unfunded bill to take DNA samples of people accused of, but not convicted of, felonies. Go figure.

Here’s the list of Republicans still on the fence on AB 300:

Chad Christiansen
Melissa Woodbury
Tom Grady
Joe Hardy
Lynn Stewart