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Tennessee's motorcycle helmet law

Warm weather in Tennessee is here at last, and that means the motorcycles are beginning to keep the roads hot. While the safety precautions one takes may depend on the type of bike, current state laws enforce helmet use at all times. Regardless of one's age or experience, a motorcycle accident with helmets involved could decrease riders' chances of suffering from serious injuries.

Although most states have at least partial laws enforcing the use of helmets, there has long been a debate over these requirements. The Tennessean reported on one effort in 2016 to modify the state's motorcycle helmet laws; however, the billed failed to pass in a Senate committee. This has not been the first attempt at changing Tennessee's helmet requirements. Those for the modifications claimed ending laws for insured drivers over the age of 21 would welcome tourism, while those in opposition argued that law enforcement would not be able to determine which riders were properly insured, and that hospitals would ultimately pay the medical price with potentially increased accidents and injuries.

To clarify state regulations, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety shares that 19 states currently have laws that require helmet use among all riders. Only Illinois, Iowa and New Hampshire do not have any current helmet laws. As for Tennessee, all riders are required to wear helmets when operating a motorcycle. The IIHS also notes that one reason most states have jumped onboard strict helmet regulations is due in part to the 1967 incentive in which all states were required to enforce helmet laws in order to be eligible for various construction funding and federal safety programs. Many may argue over these incentives and the rules that followed, but the penalties for failing to wear a helmet remain steep.    


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