Date of Hearing:  May 28, 1997  
                     Carole Migden, Chairwoman  
                 AB 1412 (Ducheny) - As Introduced  
Policy Committee:  Transportation               Vote:  11 - 6  
Urgency:  No      State Mandated Local Program:  NoReimbursable:
This bill limits the motorcycle helmet law to drivers and riders
who are under 18 years of age.  Consequently, drivers and riders
who are 18 years of age or older would no longer have to wear a
helmet when on a motorcycle.     
No direct fiscal effect.  However, if adult motorcyclists stop
wearing helmets and there is a resulting increase in the number
and severity of head injuries, there are substantial increased
state General Fund costs, in the millions of dollars, to pay for a
large portion of medical expenses incurred by these injured
motorcyclists.  According to several studies on the
cost-effectiveness of wearing helmets, this is a likely scenario.   
Rationale. This bill's sponsor, the Aligned Brotherhood Aimed
Towards Education (ABATE), argues that adult motorcyclists should
be given the freedom to choose whether or not to wear a helmet
while riding a motorcycle.  In addition, ABATE argues that the
vast reductions in motorcyclist death and severe head injury since
the helmet law went into effect in 1992, are due primarily to
fewer motorcycles being registered and operated and the benefits
of state-administered safety programs.   
Statistics.  Studies indicate that the decline in motorcyclist
head injuries and death due to head injuries declined dramatically
immediately following the 1992 effective date of the helmet law.
This is true even if one corrects for the continuing decline of
motorcycle registration in California and the benefits of the
safety program.  Finally, while the bill eliminates the
requirement that an adult wear a helmet, over 80% of the injured
riders reported in the UCLA study were over the age of 21. 

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