Tennessee bill seeks to roll back helmet law
A new bill has been proposed in Tennessee that would make changes to the state’s motorcycle helmet laws, sparking controversy and opposition from the American Automobile Association (AAA).
The bill, officially known as SB0094, would partially roll back the current requirements for motorcyclists to wear helmets. Specifically, the legislation would allow riders who are at least 21 years old and have health insurance to ride without a helmet. Additionally, the bill would require riders without helmets to carry additional insurance coverage.
Supporters of the bill argue that it would give riders more freedom and flexibility on the road. They also claim that the new insurance requirements would help to offset any potential medical costs in the event of an accident.
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However, opponents of the bill, including the AAA, argue that loosening helmet laws would put motorcyclists at greater risk of injury and death. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), motorcycle riders are about 27 times more likely than passenger car occupants to die in a crash per vehicle mile traveled. Additionally, riders who do not wear helmets are three times more likely to suffer brain injuries in a crash than those who do.
The AAA has stated that it opposes the proposed legislation, citing concerns over safety and the potential impact on healthcare costs. In a statement, the organization said, “We believe this bill could lead to increased fatalities and injuries on Tennessee’s roadways and could put additional strain on our healthcare system.”
The debate over motorcycle helmet laws is not new, and it is not unique to Tennessee. Currently, 19 states and the District of Columbia have universal helmet laws, requiring all riders to wear helmets. Another 28 states have partial helmet laws, similar to the proposed legislation in Tennessee, while three states have no helmet laws at all.
Proponents of universal helmet laws argue that they are the most effective way to protect riders from serious injury or death in the event of a crash. They point to research that shows that helmets reduce the risk of head injury by 69% and the risk of death by 42%. Additionally, they argue that the costs of treating motorcycle injuries can be significant, and that helmet laws can help to reduce the burden on healthcare systems and taxpayers.
Opponents of universal helmet laws, on the other hand, argue that they infringe on personal freedom and choice. They also argue that helmets can be uncomfortable and limit visibility and hearing, potentially increasing the risk of accidents.
The proposed legislation in Tennessee is still in the early stages and has not yet been passed into law. However, the debate over motorcycle helmet laws is likely to continue, both in Tennessee and across the country.
In conclusion, the proposed bill in Tennessee seeks to partially roll back the current helmet laws, which has been met with opposition from the AAA due to safety concerns. While supporters argue that it would give riders more freedom and help offset medical costs, opponents claim that loosening helmet laws would put motorcyclists at greater risk of injury and death. The debate over motorcycle helmet laws is not new and is likely to continue as lawmakers balance personal freedom with public safety.