NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Officials with the AAA are criticizing a bill that aims to relax helmet laws for people on motorcycles. The bill will go before state lawmakers on Wednesday.
AAA reports when other states repealed their motorcycle helmet law there was an increase in rider deaths and serious brain injuries.
The bill proposed in Tennessee would create a four-year program where drivers and passengers over 21 years old, and not insured by TennCare, are exempt from the requirement to wear a helmet when on a motorcycle or motorized bike.
Currently, the law requires all riders to wear a helmet.
AAA said helmets reduce the risk of head injury by 69% and lower the risk of death by 42%. In 2020, states without universal helmet laws saw a 57% death rate among motorcyclists not wearing a helmet compared to 11% in states with an all-rider helmet law.
AAA also argues that medical costs, which are usually carried by taxpayers and the state, rose in states that repealed their helmet law. Motorcycle crashes already cost billions in economic impact and societal harm.
This bill is on the House Transportation Subcommittee's calendar for Wednesday and AAA is urging people to call their representatives and ask them to not vote this bill into law.