In the spirit of equipping riders with the knowledge to make informed choices about their gear, we felt it imperative to share some eye-opening insights from a recent article, Helmet Testing Failure Rate Revisited: Summer 2023 Edition.
1. Not All “DOT Certified” Helmets Are Created Equal
Gary Ilminen delves into a troubling concern for motorcycle enthusiasts: the failure rate of helmets claiming to be “DOT Certified”. Over the past few years, the DOT’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has subjected numerous helmets to compliance testing. Shockingly, results from 2023 show that more than 4 out of every 10 helmets tested did not meet physical performance standards, thereby failing to offer the level of protection a “DOT Certified” label promises.
2. The Reliability of DOT Certification
A closer look at the DOT’s certification process may shed some light on this alarming statistic. Manufacturers can “self-certify” their helmets, without independent verification, and sell them as DOT Certified in the U.S., even before they’ve been tested by an independent lab. In essence, riders could be unknowingly placing their trust in unverified helmets that are already in the market.
3. Embrace Multiple Certifications
Considering the limitations of the DOT’s certification system, we strongly advise riders to invest in helmets boasting multiple certifications. Helmets displaying not just the “DOT Certified” label but also those from the Snell Memorial Foundation, ECE 22.05, ECE 22.06, or FIM provide a higher assurance of safety. Canada, recognizing the value of the ECE standards, integrated them into their helmet safety certification protocol as far back as 2012.
4. Proper Label Verification is Essential
While external labeling on a helmet might seem convincing, it’s crucial to verify the authenticity of such labels. For instance, a Snell label on the exterior doesn’t guarantee approval; the confirmation comes from an official label inside the helmet. Similarly, ECE labels should be sewn to the chin strap, and FIM-compliant helmets come with a QR code and hologram on the chin strap.
5. Advocate for Stricter Safety Measures
Given these revelations, there’s an urgent need for reforms in the helmet certification process. Introducing more rigorous standards, similar to the Snell, ECE, or FIM standards, where “self-certification” isn’t permissible, could drastically enhance rider safety.
Motorcycling, with all its exhilaration and freedom, demands a sense of responsibility. Making informed decisions about safety gear is paramount. We at OnderLaw are committed to keeping you informed and advocating for your safety on the road. Remember, not all helmets are created equal. Choose wisely, ride safely, and always be aware of the equipment protecting you.
Should you or a loved one be impacted by a defective helmet or any related incident, our dedicated team at OnderLaw is here to assist and advocate for your rights. Contact us today for your free, no-obligation consultation.