Public Health and Safety Advocates Call on Governor Mike Parson to Veto H.B. 1963 – Retain Missouri’s All-Rider Motorcycle Helmet Law

    • July 9, 2020
    150 150 Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 9, 2020

    CONTACTS:
    Advocates: Tara Gill / tgill@saferoads.org / 202.615.2629
    MO ENA: Heath Jennings / k.heathjennings@yahoo.com / 417.593.3874
    MO FACS Committee on Trauma: Chris Johnson / cjohnson@facs.org / 202.440.2560
    MO Insurance Coalition: Brandon Koch / brandon@moinsurancecoalition.com / 816.833.6337
    MOPHA: Sandra C. Boeckman / sboeckman@mopha.org / 573-634-7977
    NSC: Maureen Vogel / Maureen.Vogel@nsc.org / 630.329.9951
    SMARTER: Dan Petterson, Ed.D./ petterson@pobox.com / 231.510.4938

     

    Public Health and Safety Advocates Call on Governor Mike Parson to Veto H.B. 1963 – Retain Missouri’s All-Rider Motorcycle Helmet Law

     

    Governor Mike Parson (R) faces a choice as he deliberates action on House Bill (H.B.) 1963 which includes a provision to repeal Missouri’s 52-year-old all-rider motorcycle helmet requirement.  If he signs the bill or takes no action, more riders will die or suffer lifelong, debilitating head injuries, their families will be forever altered, health care systems will be further burdened, and related costs will rise.  If he vetoes the bill, Missouri will retain a proven lifesaving and cost-curbing public health countermeasure to risks resulting from the most hazardous form of motor vehicle transportation.  Decades of research, experience and data clearly support preserving the universal helmet requirement.  We urge Governor Parson to veto H.B. 1963.

    Andrew Warlen, President, Missouri Public Health Association (MOPHA):

    “Traffic crashes, injuries and deaths are a persistent public health problem.  In 2018, 921 people were killed on Missouri’s roads, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).  Twelve percent of these fatalities were motorcyclists, totaling 113 riders lives lost.  Clearly, traffic safety on our roads needs to improve, not become even more perilous.  The Missouri Public Health Association urges Governor Parson to veto H.B. 1963 and keep a law that has been saving lives, mitigating injuries and saving taxpayers money for more than half a century.”

    Missouri Emergency Nurses Association:

    “As nurses striving every day to care for our patients, we are strongly opposed to any weakening of Missouri’s motorcycle helmet law.  We see up close the impacts of traumatic head injuries.  They are devastating to those who suffer them, those who treat them, and those who care for them on a long-term basis.  Motorcycle helmets reduce the risk of head injury by 69 percent and lower the risk of death by 42 percent.  Helmet use is vitally needed, and laws requiring all motorcyclists to wear helmets are the only strategy proved to be effective in reducing motorcyclist fatalities, according to the Government Accountability Office (GAO).”

    Douglas J. E. Schuerer, MD FACS, State Chair, American College of Surgeons Missouri Committee on Trauma:

    “As a trauma surgeon, my job is to repair life-threatening injuries and save lives.  It is heart-breaking when a patient is before me, in need of emergency surgery, because he didn’t wear a seat belt.  Just like belts save lives in car crashes, helmets save lives in motorcycle crashes.  With motorcycles being the most hazardous form of transportation according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), it makes no sense to remove this life-or-death protection.  Motorcycle riders already are 27 times more likely to die in a crash than people riding in passenger cars.  Repealing the all-rider helmet law will expose riders to unnecessary risk and should be rejected.”

    Brandon Koch, Executive Director, Missouri Insurance Coalition:

    “There are a number of reasons why Missouri’s longstanding helmet law should not be repealed. Several significant ones include the fact that traffic crashes involving motorcycle fatalities are a serious issue in Missouri. The Missouri Department of Transportation reported 876 traffic fatalities in 2019, of which 118 were motorcyclists. The 118 motorcyclists killed represents a ten percent increase from 2018.  Motorcycle helmet use is vitally needed and a proven lifesaver having protected the lives of 60 riders and saved over $625 million in comprehensive costs resulting from motorcycle crashes in Missouri in 2017, the most recent year for which this data is available (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)).  While the Missouri Insurance Coalition supports, or is neutral, with respect to many of the provisions in HB 1963, we have significant concerns with the bill’s repeal of Missouri’s longstanding motorcycle helmet law, which has been protecting Missouri citizens and taxpayer dollars for over fifty years.”

    Cathy Chase, President, Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety (Advocates):

    “Proponents of repealing or weakening helmet laws have been known to assert, ‘Let those who ride decide.’  However, this false narrative ignores the reality of what happens when a helmet law is repealed.  The impact is not just on those who ride.  Families, communities, first responders, hospitals, other road users and all taxpayers will be forced to deal with the emotional and financial consequences of repealing the all-rider helmet law for years to come.  Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety urges Governor Parson to instead ‘Let all those who pay have a say’ and veto H.B. 1963.”

    Lorraine Martin, President and CEO, National Safety Council (NSC):

    “As a military veteran and safety advocate, I strongly urge Governor Parson to veto H.B. 1963.  The Department of Defense requires all military personnel to wear a helmet when riding a motorcycle, whether on or off a military installation. This policy not only protects human lives, but helmet use also saves $2.7 billion annually, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).  Our military recognizes the clear benefits of a helmet requirement.  We urge the governor to do the same and reject this ill-advised legislation.”

    Dan Petterson, Ed. D., President, Skilled Motorcyclist Association – Responsible, Trained and Educated Riders, Inc. (SMARTER):

    “The motorcyclist safety research makes one thing absolutely clear: the evidence regarding the effectiveness of motorcycle helmets and all-rider helmet laws is overwhelming and indisputable.  It is irresponsible to trade human lives, family devastation and an enormous amount of money just so some bikers can ride without a helmet.  The data from my home state of Michigan following the weakening of our law in 2012 unambiguously demonstrate this truth. The motorcyclists represented by SMARTER urge Governor Parson to make a responsible choice for all of his constituents and veto HB 1963.”

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