South Carolina motorcycle riders may soon be required to wear helmets when riding, if federal safety officials get their way.
The National Transportation Safety Board wants all states to make helmets a law for motorcycle riders, citing increased deaths over the last decade, even as other traffic-related fatalities have declined, according to news reports .
Motorcycle deaths have surged since the late 1990s. There were 4,400 motorcycle accident deaths in the U.S. last year, more than aviation, rail, marine and pipeline accidents combined. Traffic fatalities in 2009 were the lowest in 60 years, but still recorded more than 33,000 deaths from car accidents.
As a South Carolina car accident attorney , I think mandatory helmet use for motorcycle riders is a good idea, especially because head injuries are the leading cause of death in motorcycle crashes. Helmets saved the lives of 1,483 motorcyclists in 2009, and could have saved another 732 if all motorcyclists in crashes were wearing helmets, according to a press release .
Twenty states already require motorcycle riders to wear helmets, but most have limited laws. Three states, including Iowa, Illinois and New Hampshire, don't have a helmet requirement. South Carolina law only requires drivers younger than 21 years old to wear a helmet.
The National Transportation Safety Board added the all rider motorcycle helmet recommendations to its 2010 Most Wanted List of Safety Improvements on Tuesday.