Any motorbike owner can attest to the pure joys of riding down a highway during perfect weather. After all, motorcycles offer a closeness with the outdoors unlike that of everyday motor vehicles. Yet the laws surrounding helmet requirements for motorcyclists have long been a point of controversy among both motorcyclists and the general public. Although Tennessee requires all motorists to wear helmets, is there room for future change?
When it comes to the debate over helmet use, the Tennessean made clear in a 2016 article that proposals for less strict helmet laws failed in a Senate committee. In the hopes of attracting more tourists to the state, Republican Senator Kenny Roberts attempted to end the helmet law for insured riders over the age of 21. However, Roberts’ opponents countered his argument by pointing out that determining which riders had insurance would prove difficult for police officers. In addition, the likely increase in brain injuries and other serious accident-related conditions would only make matters worse for state hospitals that often deal with preexisting financial difficulties.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety shows that Tennessee’s universal helmet laws have gone untouched for decades, also acknowledging that antilock brakes and helmets are crucial when it comes to safety. Only Iowa, New Hampshire and Illinois do not require the use of helmets at all. Aside from promoting vital safety practices, many states were motivated by government funding; new laws in 1967 required states to enforce helmet laws in order to qualify for highway construction funds and other roadway developments. Despite successful attempts to put a halt to the withholding of funds for states without helmet laws in the 1970s, most states today stress the importance of road safety for any type of driver.