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Helmet laws: New Jersey

Introduction and scope

The New Jersey helmet law was introduced in 1992 and at first applied only to children under 14 years. In 2005 the law was extended to include children under 17 years and the use of skateboards and roller-skates.

Compliance and enforcement

There is no known data but enforcement is believed to be lax.

Effect on casualties

The State of New Jersey has claimed that the law reduced child cycling deaths by 60%. This is based on a comparison of the years 1987 to 1991 pre-law, when there was a total of 41 deaths, with the years 1994 to 1997 post-law, when there was a total of 16 deaths.

However, this claim is not justified by the statistics for fatalities in New Jersey (FARS, 2):

Year   1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999
Deaths, <14yrs   19 14 6 7 7 7 4 1 5 4 2 5 6 2
Deaths, 14+   17 18 13 11 20 14 9 17 15 18 16 16 12 21
                               
Year 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009          
Deaths, <14yrs 1 5 3 4 1 4 1 3 0 1          
Deaths, 14+ 12 20 12 7 15 13 11 9 20 12          

Effect on cycle use

Not known.

Benefit cost

No known analysis.

References

FARS, 2

Fatality Analysis Reporting System. National Center for Statistics and Analysis.