Motorcycle Helmets

NHTSA estimates that, since 2002, more than 25,000 lives have been saved by wearing motorcycle helmets. This includes 1,872 lives saved in 2017. If all motorcyclists had worn helmets, an additional 802 lives could have been saved in 2017. Motorcycle helmets are estimated to be 37% effective in preventing fatal injuries to motorcycle operators and 41% effective for motorcycle passengers.

According to the National Occupant Protection Use Survey (NOPUS), use of Department of Transportation (DOT)-compliant helmets by all motorcyclists (riders and passengers) was 71.0% in 2018. Helmet use has increased by 23% since 2002, from 57.7%.

  • Chart
  • Data Table

Observed use of DOT-compliant helmets in states with universal helmet laws was significantly higher than in states with weak or no helmet laws (83.0% compared to 56.9%). Use of non-compliant helmets is also greater in states with universal helmet laws, at 13.7% versus 3.5%.

  • Chart
  • Data Table

Sources:

National Center for Statistics and Analysis (2019, July). Motorcycle helmet use in 2018 – Overall results (Traffic Safety Facts Research Note. Report No. DOT HS 812 720). Washington, DC: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

National Center for Statistics and Analysis. (2019, 2013, 2010, 2007). Lives saved in (2017, 2012, 2008, 2006) by restraint use and minimum-drinking-age laws (Traffic Safety Facts Crash Stats. Report No. DOT HS 812 683, 811 851, 811 153, 810 869). Washington, DC: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

See data details