NHTSA Producing Film
Supporting Helmet Laws

by Wayne Curtin wtcurtin@mrf.org.

Washington, D.C. In an article in the June 13, 1997, issue of the Charleston
Gazette, provided to MRF by MRF and ABATE of West Virginia member Don
Hudnall, the Associated Press reports that "A state senator said Thursday he
will be featured in a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration film
about how to defeat bills seeking to weaken state laws requiring
motorcyclists to wear helmets." The Motorcycle Riders Foundation has
confirmed with National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)
officials that a video is being produced that would "provide assistance for
those who want to become active in the issue [preventing repeal of helmet
laws]."

"This is another example of the type of lobbying activity by NHTSA that
motorcyclists have been asking Congress to restrict in the re-authorization
process of the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act (ISTEA),"
commented Wayne Curtin, MRF's vice president of government relations. Curtin
continued saying, "This type of organizing and training support by NHTSA for
helmet law advocates is an inappropriate use of tax dollars. NHTSA should be
in the business of developing programs that prevent accidents, not in the
business of lobbying state legislatures."

The MRF has passed on information of this NHTSA film to the staff of House
Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bud Shuster (R-PA).
After a meeting earlier this year with members of ABATE of Pennsylvania, MRF
and the American Motorcyclist Association (AMA), Chairman Shuster assigned a
committee investigator to look into NHTSA’s activities in lobbying state
legislatures on the helmet law issue.

In addition, the MRF provided this information to the staff of Congressman
Don Young (R-AK). Congressman Young has requested a General Accounting
Office (GAO) audit of NHTSA's lobbying activities on the helmet law issue.
The MRF also provided this information to the GAO auditors.


Below is the text of the Associated Press article that ran in the Friday,
June 13, 1997, issue of the Charleston Gazette. Charleston is the capital of
West Virginia and the Charleston Gazette is a major daily newspaper in West
Virginia.

Film will support helmet laws
The Associated Press

A state senator said Thursday he will be featured in a national Highway
Traffic Safety Administration film about how to defeat bills seeking to
weaken state laws requiring motorcyclists to wear helmets.

Sen. Mike Oliverio, D-Monongalia, worked this year to defeat a bill that
would have allowed someone with a motorcycle license for at least two years
to ride without a helmet.

The bill passed the House of Delegates but was defeated in the Senate.
The federal agency will produce a film for use by other state legislatures
and will be in Morgantown next week to interview Oliverio on camera, Oliverio
said.
Oliverio said the bill was defeated because groups who often oppose each
other banded together to fight it. The group included the state troopers
association, the State Police Administration, trail lawyers, the West
Virginia Medical Association, the American Association of Retired Persons and
insurance companies.

The bill was sponsored by Delegate Greg Butcher, D-Logan, a longtime biker.


Content provided by:

Motorcycle Riders Foundation
P.O. Box 1808
Washington, D.C. 20013-1808
wtcurtin@mrf.org (e-mail)
http://www.mrf.org (website)




| Home | Studies | States | Nation | World | Press | Archives | Backfire | Contact Us |

© Copyright 1996-9 SAS. All Rights Reserved.