Utah is one of 28 states that does not require helmets for all motorcycle riders (required for riders 21 years old and younger). But more than half of motorcycle accidents involving riders not wearing helmets are fatal. That is according to statistics recently highlighted by the Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT). Nineteen motorcyclists have died on Utah roadways so far this year and of those, 12 riders were not wearing helmets. Those numbers suggest that this year will play out about the same as last year. In 2016, 41 helmetless riders died in crashes, which is roughly half of the total number of crashes. The disturbing trend UDOT has identified, however, is that the number of motorcyclists wearing helmets is decreasing. In 2010, 21 motorcyclists died in Utah, and 11 of those were not wearing helmets. But current statistics show that since 2010, the number of helmetless fatalities has consistently exceeded 50% of the total number of crashes.
Utah public safety officials, along with trauma surgeons, held a news conference earlier this week to bring attention to the issue. Aside from conveying the depressing statistics, the message was intended to highlight that helmet technology continues to evolve. Manufacturers have enhanced safety features, as well as comfort features such as increasing ventilation and adding wireless electronic audio and communication features. As such, investing in a new helmet every 5 to 7 years, as recommended, seems a small price to pay for a big return on saving lives.
Bret Hanna of Wrona DuBois in Utah, focuses exclusively on litigating plaintiffs’ medical malpractice and catastrophic personal injury cases. He has represented clients in state and federal courts, in mediations, and in administrative proceedings in Michigan and Utah since 1991.