|Date: Sat, 13 Dec 1997
From: Patricia Davis, ABATE of Louisiana
Subject: "No List, No Law", Coming to a State Near You?
My name is Patty Davis, ABATE of Louisiana, and I thought you'd be interested to know what we're up to down here, in light of Maryland's fantastic victories and other battles being fought in the courtrooms across the country.
For the last several months, several of our members, including myself, have been gathering "evidence" in preparation to file suit against the state, challenging the helmet law here, based on the "No list, No law" approach. What we've done is contact a variety of State Trooper headquarters around the state and the Louisiana Deptartment of Public Safety (DPS) asking for a list of approved headgear and eye wear.
You see, there IS a list [in Louisiana] , written back in 1983, just after our law was passed the last time, however it has never been revised since that time. According to the law, the Commissioner of Public Safety is supposed to "establish, maintain, and publish" a list. Most of the products on that [old] list are not even manufactured any more!
But here is the real kicker... it took me months of investigative research to find this list. A very nice clerk at the Law Library in New Orleans took it on as her pet project and produced it for me. BUT! The responses we have gotten from the State Troopers and the DPS are incredible:
"Yes there's a list of helmets, but no list of eye wear."
...and here's my favorite from the DPS, the agency [legally] responsible for "establishing, maintaining, and publishing"the list...
"We don't maintain such a list, we suggest you try your
Isn't this great! It's quite obvious that they are having just as hard of a time figuring out what a legal helmet is as the rest of us! One trooper even sent me a pile of NHTSA pamphlets about motorcycle safety! Big help there!
The attorney who will be filing the suit for us is planing to file in February. Looks like the Maryland case will be of great assistance to our case. Kinda hard to defend a law that is so misunderstood and enforced so inconsistently?
Feel free to make any suggestions. We're open to all ideas. Maybe, just maybe we won't have to go to battle again with the legislature in '99!
Thanks for all the work you do for motorcycle rights.