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Debate over mandatory helmet law in Connecticut continues

Any motor vehicle accident can result in those drivers and passengers involved being seriously or fatally injured. Motor vehicle accidents involving motorcycles, however, are typically among some of the most serious. According to information provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, during 2010 fatalities stemming from motorcycle accidents comprised 12 percent of all fatal motor vehicle accidents. This number is alarming considering that motorcycles account for less than 1 percent of miles traveled by all motor vehicles each year.

While fun, there is no doubt that riding a motorcycle is dangerous. Motorcycles lack the types of protective and safety features afforded to drivers and passengers in cars and trucks. Therefore when a motorcycle is involved in an accident, the first point of contact is often the motorcyclist.

Since 1976, states have been allowed to enact their own laws with regard to helmet usage. Currently, Connecticut does not require individuals over the age of 18 to wear a helmet while riding a motorcycle. While some believe the state's lack of a mandatory helmet law is a testament to residents' desire to protect individual freedoms others believe that not mandating helmet use is plain foolish.

Regardless of one's personal opinion, statistical evidence provided by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration proves that motorcyclists who wear a helmet are 75 percent less likely to suffer a severe brain injury. Individuals who sustain traumatic brain injuries often experience permanent and debilitating injuries that require both immediate and ongoing medical attention. Additionally, trauma to the head and brain can potentially be fatal.

To help prevent causing or being involved in a motorcycle accident, it's important that drivers of cars and motorcycles learn to share the road. All motorists are reminded to be ever aware and vigilant of the whereabouts of other motor vehicles. Additionally, drivers should always check their mirrors and blind spots and signals well in advance of making any turns or lane changes.

Source: Greenwich Time, "Serious accidents turn attention to state helmet law," Justin Pottle, July 9, 2013

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