In an interesting article summarizing the current state of motorcycle helmet laws in the United States, and the impact on those laws of lobbying efforts by various groups, including the AMA, it is stated that mandatory helmet laws for all riders are now in existence in only 19 states, versus 47 states in the late 1970s.
Motorcyclists favoring personal freedom over mandatory helmet use seem to have the upper hand when it comes to lobbying legislators, both on the state and federal level. According to the article referenced earlier, the social cost attributed to medical bills and lost productivity as a result of motorcyclists failing to wear helmets is approximately $1.3 billion as of 2008. Lack of motorcycle helmets is blamed as one factor in the significant increase in motorcycle deaths in the last 15 years, despite the opposite trend among automobile occupants (whose deaths have dropped significantly during the same time-frame).
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