Most motorcyclists enjoy the freedom of the open road and the wind in their hair. But because of the dangers of riding in the open air, people who decide to ride motorcycles in Maryland are required to wear motorcycle helmets for their protection. Not only do motorcycle helmets protect motorcyclists from the elements, but they help reduce the likelihood of head trauma in the event of a motorcycle crash.

Unfortunately, not all motorcycle helmets are properly designed to protect motorcyclists from head and brain injuries. This is why the Department of Transportation (DOT) provides safety standards for crash protection, and certain manufacturers comply with these standards and make it known to the public by permanently affixing a DOT sticker to such compliant helmets.

Although it’s the law in Maryland that motorcyclists and passengers wear DOT-certified helmets while riding motorcycles, some motorcyclists choose to wear novelty helmets. Because novelty motorcycle helmets are marketed for on-road use, many motorcycle operators wear them. Unfortunately, a recent study of motorcycle crash victims revealed that 56 percent of motorcyclists wearing novelty helmets had serious head injuries, compared to 19 percent of motorcycle operators wearing DOT-certified helmets.

Understand the Risk of Novelty Helmets

“Wearing a helmet that meets DOT standards can literally mean the difference between life and death,” said National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) Administrator Mark Rosekind. According to NHTSA, DOT-certified helmets help save over a thousand lives annually, which is why NHTSA is bringing attention to unsafe motorcycle helmets so that the public understands which helmets do not comply with federal standards. Unapproved helmets might not have the correct thickness of the outer shell and inner liner, and the inner liner might not have the ability to absorb the energy of the crash.

Because a good motorcycle helmet can help disperse the force of a crash, it can reduce a motorcyclist’s chances of suffering a traumatic brain injury. As personal injury attorneys who have helped many seriously injured motorcyclists over the years, we encourage all motorcycle operators and passengers to wear properly fitting helmets that are DOT-certified and to spread the word by sharing this blog with other motorcyclists via Facebook.

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