New Rules Aim To Prevent Fake Motorcycle Helmet Certification Labels

Helmets can mean the difference between life and death when a motorcyclist suffers a serious accident. That's why a new helmet rule passed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is so important: It increases the odds that cyclists when purchasing helmets will actually be buying ones that provide them with the most protection during an accident.

It's an unfortunate truth that there are solid profits to be made in producing false "certification" labels for motorcycle helmets. This can directly endanger the lives of those cyclists who purchase helmets that they believe have been certified as safe by their state's department of transportation when in reality the certificates on their helmets have been falsified.

The new rule from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has a simple goal - to make it more costly and challenging from criminals to produce false state certification labels.

According to the Motorcycle Industry Council, helmet certification labels now come with a host of new requirements. First, certified helmets must now include decal lettering that spells out the manufacturer's name and/or brand name of the helmet. The decal must also identify the helmet model designation.

Certified helmets must also have the term "FMVSS No. 218" centered beneath their Department of Transportation symbol on the decal. The decal must also contain the word "certified" in a horizontally centered position beneath the "FMVSS No. 218" label. The traffic safety administration hopes that these new rules will make life more difficult for those who insist on selling falsely certified motorcycle helmets.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration also revised the certification tests that departments of transportation perform on motorcycle helmets. The new rules, for example, spell out a specific load application rate for the retention test.

The hope is that these new rules will increase the safety of motorcyclists. Of course, new rules are no substitute for safe driving. Motorcyclists must always be aware of other vehicles on the road. And they must never drive recklessly whether they're motoring on highways or side streets.

Motorcycles are no match for cars or trucks. It's true that a real certified helmet can offer important protection for cyclists. But safe driving habits are the best form of protection.