The Helmet Law is CORRECTABLE
6/15/00

SANTA CRUZ. Richard Quigley is seriously testing the California Helmet Law via the local Santa Cruz Courts. His first argument is that the Helmet Law is a correctable offense, because this is what the California Legislature intended, which is why CVC 2803 is listed in Div 12 of the California Vehicle Code. As you might remember there was a lot of attention on this issue several years ago, which resulted in a decision by the California Judicial Council (CJC) that the Helmet Law was not correctable.

As it turns out, the CJC cannot reinterpret the law against the legislature's intent, which would be a breach of the Separation of Powers. They could have recommended that the Legislature review the law and request that they make it non-correctable, but this would open up debate and voting which could have destroyed the helmet law entirely. So the CJC didn't go there. They simply claimed that they had the power to make the determination that the law was not correctable.

Quig has strong evidence including a letter from the Legislature (now Attorney General Bill Lockyer no less!), which states that the intention of the Legislature was to make the law correctable.

The correctability issue is a very important point. When the police or CHP sign off a helmet ticket, they are in effect "approving" it.

However, FMVSS 218 is VERY specific about how a helmet must be tested. Each model must be tested in a lab under hot, moderate, cold and under water conditions. At each level the helmet is destroyed in testing it's tolerance. So you NEED 4 helmets for each model. NHTSA calls this a "Destructive Standard" because the by product of each test is a broken helmet.

When you realize that 218 not only tries to establish what a helmet is... and that it also details what one needs to do certify it, THEN you begin to realize that this *cuts both ways*.

Not only is it impossible for the common man to know what a helmet is (and thanks to Buhl it's absurd to expect us to), but it is totally & literally *impossible* and against Fed 218 code for anyone outside of a lab testing facility to certify a helmet!

That means... a cop eye-balling or holding your helmet at a roadside stop falls absurdly short of the Federal Standard that is the basis of our law. So... as soon as an authority signs off a helmet ticket, they've approved it, but they can't approve it, because that's not legal, plus it would establish a liability. Check Mate.

You have to wonder... if it's possible that someone at the CHP or CJC figured this out, but couldn't go back to the Legislature to ask for a rewrite, so instead they tried to fix the flaw by claiming that the law wasn't meant to be correctable, because "they" can't go there. Only problem is that the CJC can't make that ruling. That is beyond their authority.

Quig has a number of tickets pending which in addition to the correctability issue, also brings into question the law's constitutionality and the conflict between the Buhl and Bianco decisions. Keep your eye on this.

For more information Overview by Quig, the BOLT of California website


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