CDC Task Force Pushes Universal Mandatory Helmet Law

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14NR10 - MRF News Release - CDC Task Force Pushes Universal Mandatory Helmet Law

13 March 2014

Contact:Jeff Hennie, Vice President of Government Relations and Public Affairs

CDC Task Force Pushes Universal Mandatory Helmet Law

The Motorcycle Riders Foundation (MRF) reports that a task force that is funded by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has issued its findings statement for motorcycle safety, with the singular solution being universal mandatory helmet laws. 

The task force, known as the Community Preventative Services Task Force, is a 15 member, non-federal, independent group that utilizes CDC staff and resources to develop “Findings and Rationale Statements.” The statements make recommendations that run the gamut of topics from asthma control to work place safety. The recommendations have included motor vehicles in the past focusing on seat belts, child seats, and alcohol use. This is the first time the task force has recommended anything to do with motorcycling. Task force members are appointed by the Director of the CDC and serve five-year terms. All current members are doctors, with one exception. 

The CDC asserts that fatalities have nearly doubled since 2000 while failing to take into account the increase in registered motorcycles. In fact, in 2000 there were 2,862 fatal crashes for 4.9 million registered motorcycles. That means in 2000 .058% of all registered motorcycles were involved in a fatal crash. In 2010 there were 4,502 fatalities for 8.4 million registered motorcycles, which puts just .053% of registered motorcycles, a slight decrease in the ratio of registered motorcycles to fatalities with 3.5 million more motorcycles on the road. These are just some of the facts about the CDC research that have been presented in all four MRF conferences going back to fall of 2012.

The Task Force report claims that they used data from 69 studies, but only lists seven in the reference section of the finding statement. The MRF is investigating this and is in talks with the Task Force staff about how they came to the conclusion that enacting universal mandatory helmet laws is the only way to save lives. 

“It is deeply troubling that some of our brightest researchers refuse to acknowledge rider education and awareness campaigns as effective means to saving lives,” said Jeff Hennie, Vice President of Government Relation and Public Affairs for the MRF. 

Also of note is why the CDC would only focus on head injury. J. Lee Annest, the Director of Statistics and Programing for the CDC, informed the motorcycle community that the CDC does not keep information on motorcycle fatality by body part and that in motorcycle fatalities there are usually multiple injuries, with the primary body part affected difficult to determine. Yet the only solution that the CDC has ever presented in its history is universal mandatory helmet law..

The MRF worked with the House of Representatives to send a letter to the CDC asking them to not focus on motorcycle safety, but rather leave that to the relevant transportation agencies. The CDC’s response was that they needed to be involved in all preventable injuries, because they have the newest research available. 

Use the MRF’s latest “Fact or Fiction” piece, which was made public at this past year’s “Bikers Inside the Beltway” event in D.C. in May of 2013 to educate your legislators. The one page document has information about the CDC and the misconception related to the effectiveness of helmet laws.

You can view the “Fact or Fiction” piece here:



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