"Increasing motorcycle helmet use can save lives and money," Dr. Thomas R. Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, said in a statement. "In 2010, more than $3 billion in economic costs were saved due to helmet use in the United States. Another $1.4 billion could have been saved if all motorcyclists had worn helmets."
Universal helmet laws that motorcycle riders and passengers to wear a helmet every time they ride result in cost savings by increasing helmet use, reducing crash-related injuries and deaths, Frieden said.
The CDC analysis of fatal crash data from 2008 to 2010 found 12 percent of motorcyclists in states with universal helmet laws were not wearing helmets. In comparison, 64 percent of riders were not wearing helmets in states with partial helmet laws and 79 percent of riders were not wearing helmets in states with no helmet laws, the study said.
As of May, 19 states and the District of Columbia had universal helmet laws, 28 states had partial helmet laws and three states had no helmet law, the CDC said.
The study, published in the CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, used data from the 2008 to 2010 Fatality Analysis Reporting System.
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