The Legal Impact of Helmet Laws in Texas

Texas Motorcycle Helmet Laws

Should Helmets be Required for Motorcycle Riders?

The debate on whether or not helmets should be required for all riders isn’t a new one.  Some say helmet laws will do wonders to help save lives, reduce economic impacts, and encourage safer riders.  Others say helmet laws only infringe on personal freedoms, and do little other than allow the government to have more control over our lives.

Let’s dig in as the Car Crash Captain lays out what the arguments for, and against, these helmet laws are, and see what we can do to make the roads safer for everyone – regardless of how many wheels their vehicle has.

Variations of Helmet Laws by State

Each state gets to make their own rules on whether or not they want to require helmets for all riders, some riders, or no riders.

States like California and New York have universal helmet laws.  They require all riders and passengers to wear helmets at all times.

States like Iowa and New Hampshire have no helmet laws.  Passengers and riders can choose to wear a helmet, but they’re not required to do so.

Some states, like Texas, have partial helmet laws.  In these states only those who do not meet requirements must wear helmets; the rest get to choose if it’s right for them or not.

Legal and Ethical Dilemmas of Helmet Laws

The evidence for wearing helmets is overwhelming.  Study after study and report after report show that wearing a helmet significantly reduces the probability of being critically injured or killed in a motorcycle wreck.

Those who want to see helmets required for all riders and passengers cite sources like the CDC, where reports show that when universal helmet laws are instated, fatal motorcycle wrecks decrease by 30%.

Despite the abundance of evidence that helmets save lives, personal freedom still reigns supreme.  Many states that don’t have universal helmet laws give the choice back to the people.  Adults have the right to choose if they’re going to take the risk, or not.

Of course, the mandates and laws go beyond merely a personal choice.

Healthcare costs for treating traumatic brain injuries after a motorcycle wreck are substantial.  Even with medical insurance and healthcare coverage, costs are often passed on to the tax payer – more people being treated for preventable injuries means that others are subsidizing care for those injured in an otherwise preventable manner.

Even with insurance, the economic impact extends to the other insurance holders.  More claims mean rates go up for everyone.  With a universal helmet law, rates could go down for everyone as overall fewer claims and less severe injuries means lower expenses for the insuring company.

How Texas Handles Helmet Laws

In Texas there are two factors that would mean you have to wear a helmet while riding.  Those under the age of 21, and those who don’t have adequate insurance to cover motorcycle accident injuries, must wear helmets at all times.  For those over age 21 and have the proper insurance, the choice to wear a helmet or not resides with the rider.

If you were to wreck in a state that required a helmet, and you weren’t wearing a helmet, your overall settlement could be reduced as you were negligent in your conduct.

However, in Texas, if you’re following the laws (and circumstances surrounding the wreck), your compensation might not be affected by the choice not to wear a helmet.  This does get a little murky, however, since Texas follows the comparative negligence rule – if you’re found to be more than 50% at fault you can’t recover damages.  If you’re found to be less than 50% at fault (but more than 0%) your compensation is reduced.

Herbert Law Group is Here to Help You

Whether you’re wearing a helmet or not, being involved in a motorcycle wreck is going to have long-lasting and wide-spread impact on your life.  The last thing you, or your loved ones, want to do is wonder if a helmet law would have prevented the wreck, reduced injuries, or otherwise changed the outcome.

What you do want is justice.  You want things to move quickly, to progress without delay, so you can get back to living your life.

That’s where Herbert Law comes into play.  We’ll work out the legal stuff, you work on healing from your injuries.  First, though, we need to talk about what happened.  Give us a call at 214-414-3808, or fill out the contact form on our site, and we’ll have a free talk to figure out the next steps.