According to the South Carolina Department of Transportation, motorcycle helmets must meet certain regulations in order to be labeled "DOT compliant." These rules are in place to protect riders from concussions and other head injuries in the event of an accident. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that more than 1,500 lives were saved in 2010 because of motorcycle helmets.
SCDOT Motorcycle Helmet Standards
To be sold in the United States, motorcycle helmets must comply with Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 218. FMVSS 218 sets minimum levels of thickness, impact protection and absorption to help prevent brain injury or death in a motorcycle accident.
According to the rules, motorcycle helmets must:
- Contain a thick inner lining – The inner lining of all helmets should be firm and measure about one inch in thickness.
- Have substantial weight – Helmets need to weigh about three pounds to be considered safe.
- Have a chin strap and rivets – All motorcycle helmets should have a proper retention system to keep the helmet in place. This typically includes a chin strap that is properly secured to the helmet.
- Include a manufacturer sticker – All DOT compliant motorcycle helmets must be labeled to include the manufacturer’s name, the model, the size, the month/year it was manufactured, its materials, and instructions for the owner.
Helmet manufacturers are responsible for testing their products and ensuring compliance. Once a helmet meets all FMVSS regulations, it must be sold with a DOT sticker. Each year, SCDOT performs compliance tests to ensure manufacturers are abiding by the rules and regulations. The results of those tests are posted on the SCDOT’s public website.
Helping Motorcycle Riders After an Accident
Non-compliant motorcycle helmets often fail to protect riders from head trauma in the event of a wreck. If you were hurt in a motorcycle accident in South Carolina and have questions about any aspect of your case, including the law surrounding helmets, learn your rights. Unlike the insurance companies, I am here to provide you with honest answers and guide you toward justice. For a free consultation, as well as free copies of my books, call my Columbia, SC office today at 803-790-2800.