Motorcycle Helmet Law

Effective September 1, 2009, Texas motorcycle helmet laws were amended, and the previous helmet exemption sticker program was repealed. This means that there is no longer a required minimum insurance coverage amount, and it is no longer required for a motorcycle operator to display a DPS issued sticker on the motorcycle.

CURRENT HELMET LAW

In Texas, helmet law is relatively simple. If you are under the age of 21, you are required by law to wear a helmet. You are exempt from wearing a helmet only if you are a motorcycle rider over the age of 21, and have successfully completed the motorcycle education course. You can also be exempted if you are over the age of 21, and you hold medical insurance that covers injuries that result from a motorcycle accident. Essentially, the words “MOTORCYCLE HEALTH” must be printed in all capitals on the insurance card, or if your insurance plan elects to issue a paper card, the separate paper card must include the heading “Motorcycle Health: Standard Proof of Health Insurance.”

This current law also prohibits police officers from stopping or detaining the driver of a motorcycle for the sole purpose of checking whether the driver or the passenger meet the helmet exemption requirements. In other words, a police officer must have a valid reason for stopping you; they cannot stop you just to determine whether or not you are complying with the helmet laws.

DOT APPROVED HELMETS

As a precaution, you should always wear a Department of Transportation (DOT) approved motorcycle helmet. In the United States, it is required that all motorcycle helmets sold meet the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 218. However, helmets that are sold as novelty items, such as helmets intended as collector’s items, are not required to be DOT approved.

To be safe, always verify that your safety helmet meets the DOT requirements. It should be clearly labeled on the box or the helmet itself with a DOT sticker, and a manufacturer’s label. Be wary of dishonest sellers who might mislabel the helmets to persuade individuals to purchase them. To avoid being fooled, check inside the helmets for labels from private organizations like Snell or American National Standards Institute (ANSI). These labels are good indicators that your helmet does meet the DOT requirements.

You should also examine the helmet’s design. Most DOT approved helmets weigh a little over 3 pounds; anything less could be a phony. Also, DOT regulations do not allow anything to extend over two-tenths of an inch off of the helmet. That means that helmets with large spikes or anything similar are indicators that the helmet is not DOT approved. Finally, if you are aware that your helmet does not meet DOT requirements, avoid wearing it while operating your motorcycle. It’s a safety measure that could save your life.

NEED A CONSULTATION?

At Guest and Gray Law Firm, we are highly qualified to answer any motorcycle related questions you may have. We urge you to contact our office today. We are located in old downtown Forney across from City Hall. The lawyers of Guest and Gray Law Firm have decades of combined Kaufman County experience. We proudly serve all of Kaufman County, including Forney, Terrell, Kaufman, Crandall, Mesquite, Mabank and Scurry-Rosser.