Advocates Commends Louisiana for Reinstatement of Motorcycle Helmet Law

June 18, 2004 (202) 408-1711 x15

Statement of Judith Lee Stone, President
Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety (Advocates)

Special Commendation to Louisiana Legislature and Governor Blanco
For Reinstatement of Lifesaving All-rider Helmet Law

Washington, D.C., June 18, 2004. Yesterday the Louisiana legislature, led by Representative Clara Baudoin and Senator Joel Chaisson, stood up for public safety and fiscal responsibility when they reinstated Louisiana's all-rider motorcycle helmet law. By a large margin of 26 to 12, the legislators approved the measure after looking at the evidence since Louisiana repealed its all-rider law in 1999 and said, "enough."

Motorcycle fatalities in the state increased 100 percent after the all-rider law was repealed. Many legislators argued in favor of this life-saving law because of tragedies that they have heard of or personally experienced since the repeal.

Advocates also applauds Governor Blanco whose personal support and involvement was instrumental in the final outcome.

Pivotal arguments that led to the strong vote reinstating the law were focused on cost burdens to the state and its citizens when helmet use dropped and brain injuries rose after repeal of their all-rider law. Other states that have repealed their all-rider laws have experienced similar human and financial losses. Helmet-less riders sustain more severe and traumatic brain injuries that often require costly long-term medical and rehabilitative treatment. A key issue considered by the Louisiana House and Senate is that almost 50 percent of motorcyclists have no private health care insurance and the cost of treatment ends up on the taxpayer's ticket.

Citizens should be concerned about and fight for every penny at the state government level and they need to recognize the trade-offs where they exist. In the case of motorcycle helmet laws, money spent on head injuries means less money available for public safety or schools.

Louisiana has set the example we hope other states will follow. This is a huge victory for the citizens of Louisiana, who should be proud that their representatives and governor looked beyond the personal choice argument advocated by opponents of helmet laws. A rider's choice stops being personal when it ends up costing us all.


Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety (Advocates), an alliance of consumer, health and safety groups and insurance companies and agents working together to make America's roads safer, is actively involved at the federal and state levels to reduce the terrible tragedy of crashes to families across the nation. More information about the unfinished highway and auto safety agenda can be found on Advocates' web site,

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