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What is a universal helmet law?

There are many studies that show wearing a helmet when riding a motorcycle can save your life. That is why many states have a requirement for riders to wear helmets. However, states will usually allow exceptions and not require everyone to wear a helmet, including Louisiana. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, states that require everyone to wear a helmet when riding on a motorcycle practice universal helmet laws. 

Universal helmet law history

The original and consistent goal of universal helmet laws is to encourage the use of helmets and save lives. The federal government used to penalize states without such laws, but that later changed. Once federal penalties dropped, many states changed their helmet laws to allow exceptions. 

Currently, only 20 states use universal helmet laws. Throughout the years since the first law in 1966, many states have had universal laws at some point but then changed to exemption style laws. There are at least a few states that have no helmet laws. 

The research

Leading research shows that if you are in an accident on a motorcycle, you will have a 22 to 42% higher chance of surviving if you wear a helmet. The chances of avoiding a severe brain injury are even higher at 41 to 69%. 

States with universal helmet laws have a higher level of helmet use than states without such laws. Universal helmet law states see about an 86% use of helmets whereas other states have only about 55% use. Such laws can double the percentage of helmet use among riders.