The proposal intends to make it more difficult for riders to use novelty helmets in states that require DOT-certified helmets. The new labels would also make it harder for vendors to remove the labels on safe helmets and affix them to the unsafe, novelty helmets.
“Novelty helmets do little to protect riders during an accident,” says U.S. Transportation secretary Mary E. Peters. “This proposal will make it easier for riders to know in advance whether the helmet they buy will keep them safe.”
The proposed rule would also strengthen the tests helmets must go through to receive DOT certification, including updated tests on how the helmets hold up during impact, whether objects can penetrate the helmet and how well the helmet stays in place during a crash. Recent tests of novelty helmets which are not DOT certified showed they fail to meet current DOT performance tests.
“As our testing has shown, these ‘novelty’ helmets do not have the energy absorbing capacity to protect a rider in a highway crash,” says David Kelly, action NHTSA administrator. “A DOT-certified and labeled helmet, as proposed today, will help consumers make more knowledgeable decisions when purchasing a helmet.”
Once published in the Federal Register, the agency will seek public comment for 60 days.