Research Reports - The impact of the repeal of Michigan's universal helmet law on traumatic brain injury

Am J Surg. 2017 Oct 24. pii: S0002-9610(17)30983-2. doi:
10.1016/j.amjsurg.2017.09.033. [Epub ahead of print]

Saunders RN(1), Adams NS(2), Chapman AJ(3), Davis AT(4), Koehler TJ(4), Durling
LT(3), Iskander GA(3), Girotto JA(5).

BACKGROUND: In April of 2012, Michigan repealed its 35-year-old universal
motorcycle helmet law in favor of a partial helmet law, which permits
motorcyclists older than 21 years old with sufficient insurance and experience to
drive un-helmeted. We evaluated the clinical impact of the repeal.
METHODS: The Michigan Trauma Quality Improvement Program's trauma database was
queried for motorcycle crash patients between 1/1/09-4/12/12 and between
4/13/12-12/31/14.
RESULTS: There were 1970 patients in the pre-repeal analysis and 2673 patients in
the post-repeal analysis. Following the repeal, patients were more likely to be
un-helmeted (p < 0.001) and to have a traumatic brain injury (p < 0.001).
Patients were also more likely to require neurosurgical interventions (relative
risk 1.4, p = 0.011).
CONCLUSION: Following the repeal of the universal helmet law, there has been a
significant increase in traumatic brain injuries and neurosurgical interventions.
This analysis highlights another detrimental impact of the repeal of the
universal helmet law.
SUMMARY SENTENCES: Following the repeal of the universal helmet law, there has
been a significant increase in traumatic brain injuries and neurosurgical
interventions. This analysis highlights another detrimental impact of the repeal
of the universal helmet law. 

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