Director, Public and Government Affairs, DE
Sr. Public Aff. Specialist, CT/DE/NJ/PA
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DOVER, DE (March 15, 2017) - AAA Mid-Atlantic supports legislation that could save the lives of the growing number of motorcyclists on Delaware's roads. AAA Mid-Atlantic Public & Government Affairs Manager Ken Grant testified before the House Public Safety & Homeland Security Committee in support of House Bill 14 today.
"AAA wants all motorists to be aware that the tremendous growth in the popularity of motorcycling has added millions of new motorcycles and riders to our roadways," Grant said. "Motorcyclists owe it to themselves and their loved ones to increase their margin of traffic safety by upgrading to and wearing a high quality helmet on every ride."
According to the Synopsis of House Bill 14:
Under current Delaware law, every adult operating or riding a motorcycle is required to have a helmet in his or her possession while operating or riding a motorcycle and every person up to 19 years of age must wear a helmet. This Act requires that every person, regardless of age, who operates or rides a motorcycle wear a helmet while doing so. Nineteen states and the District of Columbia currently require all motorcyclists to wear a helmet. Of the 49 motorcycle fatalities in Delaware since 2014, just over half of the motorcyclists, 28, were wearing helmets at the time of the crash.
"We believe the use of helmets will decrease both the human tragedy— to the crash victims and their families—and the associated financial costs. In the last decade, 179 motorcyclists lost their lives on Delaware roads with more than 2,800 sustaining injuries according to State Police reports," Grant said.
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration NHTSA reports:
- 4,976 motorcyclists killed in motor vehicle traffic crashes, an increase of 8% from the 4,594 motorcyclists killed in 2014. Of the 4,976 motorcyclists killed, 94% (4,684) were riders and 6% (292) were passengers
- 40% of the 4,976 motorcyclists killed in motor vehicle traffic crashes were not helmeted, based on known helmet use.
- Helmets saved the lives of 1,772 motorcyclists in 2015. Another 740 lives could have been saved if helmets were worn.
- In states without universal helmet laws, 58% of motorcyclists killed in 2015 weren't wearing helmets compared to the 8% in states where there are universal helmet laws.
FOLLOWING IS THE COMPLETE TEXT OF TESTIMONY:
Testimony on HB14
Ken Grant, Manager, Public and Government Affairs, AAA Mid-Atlantic
Delaware General Assembly House Public Safety & Homeland Security Committee
March 15, 2017
Good afternoon, Chairman Mitchell and Committee Members.
I am Ken Grant, Manager of Public and Government Affairs for AAA Mid-Atlantic.
AAA was founded more than a century ago to advocate for and protect motorists’ interests and to advance road safety. AAA Mid-Atlantic currently has some four million members, including more than 140,000 in Delaware. As an advocate for roadway safety, AAA Mid-Atlantic is offering our support for House Bill (HB) 14, which would require all Delaware’s motorcycle riders to wear helmets
We believe the use of helmets will decrease both the human tragedy— to the crash victims and their families—and the associated financial costs. In the last decade, 179 motorcyclists lost their lives on Delaware roads with more than 2,800 sustaining injuries according to State Police reports.
Not only do traffic safety organizations, including our partners at the Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, agree with our position so does the general public. For example, in January 2015, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety survey found that “more than 4 in 5 Americans” (82 percent) support a law requiring all motorcycle riders to wear a helmet.
While the human tragedy cannot be measured, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA, 2012), estimated that states with an all-rider helmet law saw an economic savings to society of $725 per registered motorcycle, compared with just $198 per registered motorcycle in states without such a law.
According to the NHTSA, helmets are by far the single most effective method to prevent motorcyclist fatalities and serious injuries. It found that helmets are 37 percent effective in preventing fatal injuries to motorcyclists and 41 percent effective for passengers. Further, in states without universal helmet laws, 40 percent of motorcyclists killed were not wearing helmets, as compared to 8 percent in states with universal helmet laws. Over the last decade, Delaware mirrors that statistic with 46 percent (84 of 179 fatalities) of fatalities not wearing a helmet.
In the event of a crash, unhelmeted motorcyclists are 3 times more likely than helmeted riders to suffer traumatic brain injuries.
AAA wants all motorists to be aware that the tremendous growth in the popularity of motorcycling has added millions of new motorcycles and riders to our roadways. Motorcyclists owe it to themselves and their loved ones to increase their margin of traffic safety by upgrading to and wearing a high quality helmet on every ride.
Helmets protect the most precious part of our body- our heads, our brains. Without them, we are simply more vulnerable. A stronger helmet law will protect more riders from injury, even riders who would choose not to protect themselves otherwise.
Thank you for your consideration
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AAA provides automotive, travel and insurance services to 57 million members nationwide and more than 140,000 members in Delaware. AAA advocates for the safety and mobility of its members and has been committed to outstanding road service for more than 100 years. The not-for-profit, fully tax-paying member organization works on behalf of motorists, who can now map a route, find local gas prices, discover discounts, book a hotel and track their roadside assistance service with the AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android. For more information, visit www.AAA.com.