URGENT: Action Needed to Defeat Motorcycle Helmet Repeal Bill in Missouri Legislature
Background on Status of Missouri SB 556 and Past Legislation to Repeal the All-Rider Helmet Requirement:
The effort to repeal Missouri’s all-rider helmet law has consistently advanced through the legislature in past sessions. Former Governor Jay Nixon (D) was a safety ally who vetoed a helmet repeal bill in 2009. Unfortunately, current Governor Eric Greitens (R) has signaled that he will sign the bill if it advances to his desk.
The Missouri motorcycle helmet repeal bill, SB 556, is now pending on the Senate informal perfection calendar which means that Senate leadership could decide to bring it up for perfection, the process of incorporating amendments, and then schedule it for a vote at any time. Our strategy is to put pressure on Senate leadership in order to run out the clock on the session before the bill advances to a floor vote. Equally important, we want to deter amending an advancing bill with the helmet repeal language, which occurred last session. The session ends on May 18th.
If the Senate passes the bill, it will then be sent to the House. Last year the House passed a helmet repeal bill by a vote of 9358. While time remaining in the session is likely too short to advance SB 556 through the House, passage in the Senate would signal support for amending the language onto a bill that has passed one of the Chambers and is pending the second.
Need to contact MO Senate Leadership:
It is critical that Senate leadership hear from your company or group to convey your strong opposition to SB 556 and any effort to repeal the all-rider helmet law now. Contact information for Senate leadership follows:
- Ron Richard (R), President Pro Tem: (573) 751-2173, Ronald.Richard@senate.mo.gov
- Mike Kehoe (R), Majority Floor Leader: (573) 751-2076, Mike.Kehoe@senate.mo.gov
- Bob Onder (R), Assistant Majority Floor Leader: (573) 751-1282, Bob.Onder@senate.mo.gov
- Gina Walsh (D), Minority Floor Leader: (573) 751-2420, Gina.Walsh@senate.mo.gov
- S. Kiki Curls (D), Assistant Minority Floor Leader: (573) 751-3158, Shalonn.Curls@senate.mo.gov
- Jamilah Nasheed (D), Minority Caucus Whip: (573) 751-4415, Jamilah.Nasheed@senate.mo.gov
- For over 50 years, Missouri’s all-rider helmet law has been preventing deaths and injuries and saving taxpayer dollars in the state. Repealing this critical law would be a deadly and costly mistake.
- Motorcyclist fatalities are on the rise in Missouri for the third year in a row. Motorcyclist fatalities spiked 40 percent, killing 224 people over the two year period 2014 to 2016. (NHTSA)
- Over the two-year period (2014-2016), traffic fatalities increased nearly 24 percent, killing 945 people on Missouri roads. More should be done to reduce these preventable fatalities instead of repealing a vital safety law. (NHTSA)
- Motorcycle helmets are not only saving lives, they are also saving taxpayers money. In addition to saving the lives of 53 riders in Missouri in 2015, motorcycle helmets spared the state over $536 million in comprehensive costs resulting from motorcycle crashes for that year alone. (NHTSA)
- Motorcycles are the most hazardous form of motor vehicle transportation. Motorcycle crash fatalities have more than doubled (5,286 in 2016) since a low of 2,116 in 1997.
- A 2012 Government Accountability Office (GAO) report concluded that “laws requiring all motorcyclists to wear helmets are the only strategy proven to be effective in reducing motorcyclist fatalities.”
- In 2016, there were twelve times as many unhelmeted fatalities (1,923) in states without an all-rider helmet law compared to states with a universal helmet law (166). These states were nearly equivalent with respect to total resident populations. (NHTSA)
- “Minors only” helmet laws, such as SB 556, are ineffective, unenforceable and unpopular. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, in states with weak youth-specific helmet laws, use has decreased and youth mortality has increased. Serious traumatic brain injury among youth was 38 percent higher in states with age-specific laws compared to states with all-rider helmet laws.
- The American Automobile Association (AAA) Foundation Traffic Safety Culture Index that found more than four in five Americans (82%) support a law requiring all motorcycle riders to wear a helmet.
Thanks so much for your assistance in helping to oppose the helmet repeal effort. Please contact Tara Gill, Director of State Programs, if you have questions or need more information, firstname.lastname@example.org, 202.408.1711.