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A new set of proposed rules from the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) aims to strengthen motorcycle safety by making it easier for riders to identify DOT-certified helmets, and avoid "novelty" helmets that do not provide adequate crash protection.
Under the new proposed rules announced Monday, manufacturers would be required to place a bigger, tamper-proof DOT label on the backs of all certified motorcycle helmets. According to a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) Press Release, "the new labels will make it harder for vendors to remove the labels on safe helmets and affix them to the unsafe novelty helmets." The proposed rules would also require stricter safety testing for motorcycle helmets. In Monday's NHTSA Press Release, U.S. Transportation Secretary Mary E. Peters stated that the new rule "will help mitigate the yearly increases in motorcycle fatalities and injuries that have plagued the nation for nearly a decade," with fatalities increasing by 144 percent since 1997. According to the NHTSA, in states with helmet laws, almost 20 percent of motorcycle riders wear a non-compliant helmet. And in 2006, helmets saved more than 1,600 lives, but if all motorcycle riders wore a helmet, another 752 lives would have been saved, according to the NHTSA.