After more than a month of waiting, Gov. Jay Nixon has vetoed the Legislature’s decision to repeal Missouri’s mandatory motorcycle helmet law, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported July 2. The vetoed legislation would have given riders 21 and older the option to not wear helmets, except on interstate highways. With the veto, riders of all ages must continue to wear their helmets in Missouri, although they may take them off in many neighboring states, including Illinois. Lawmakers may still override the veto when they convene in September, but the newspaper suggested that this will not be easy.
News reports suggested that Nixon had genuine doubts about the law, which may explain the long gap between the veto and the Legislature’s passing the law in early May. Supporters of the repeal argued that it was a question of freedom; adults should be able to choose whether to take the risk of riding without a helmet. Opponents, who included the Missouri Department of Transportation, countered with statistics showing that helmets substantially reduce motorcyclists’ risk of death and brain damage in an accident. Nixon cited some of those statistics when he vetoed the bill, adding that he was concerned about the likely increase in the financial cost of treating motorcycle accident victims.
As an American, I sympathize with concerns about where individual freedom ends and responsibility to others begins. But as a Missouri brain injury attorney, I believe that voluntarily using a helmet is the smartest choice for motorcyclists (and bicyclists and ATV riders). As the article points out, the federal Department of Transportation has found that helmets cut the risk of death by in a motorcycle accident by 37% and the probability of brain injury by 67%. They also cut costs to public health programs, as well as to riders and insurance companies. One DoT study estimated that helmet use saved $1.3 billion in 2002 alone in the U.S., and universal helmet use could have saved $853 million more. That’s a high price to pay for feeling the wind in your hair.
When someone else’s careless driving causes these catastrophic brain injuries, victims have the right to hold the wrongdoer legally responsible for his or her actions with a St. Louis brain injury lawsuit. Carey, Danis & Lowe represents victims of serious brain damage caused by all types of accidents, including motorcycle and other traffic crashes. Our Southern Illinois brain injury lawyers can help victims recover the money they need to pay their medical bills, which can easily reach seven figures in a serious case; and other accident-related costs. We can also help you recover compensation for a death in the family or a permanent disability, injuries, pain and suffering.
To learn more about your rights and tell us about your case at a free consultation, you can contact Carey, Danis & Lowe online or call us toll-free at 1-877-678-3400.