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FOCUS – Snell Testing for 2005 Helmet Standards

December 20, 2004
Filed under Features

The Snell Memorial Foundation says M2005 and SA/K2005 Standards have been finalized and certification testing to these standards have begun.
Certification to the M2005 and SA/K2005 Standards for helmets meeting those requirements started to be granted in October, when the new standards became effective. Certification stickers for the new standards will be available July 1, 2005. However, helmets with the new certification stickers cannot be shipped until October 1, 2005.
In North America, there are two well-known sets of standards that can be used to judge the effectiveness of a motorcycle helmet in an accident. DOT is often considered the minimum for legal riding. The Snell Memorial Foundation has developed stricter requirements and testing procedures for motorcycle helmets, as well as helmets for other activities.
Shortly after William “Pete” Snell died of massive head injuries received during an automotive racing accident, his friends and associates formed the Snell Memorial Foundation. The goals of the foundation were to investigate and understand the mechanisms of head injury and to encourage the development of truly protective helmets for use in automotive sports.
The Snell Memorial Foundation is a not-for profit organization incorporated in 1957 in California. It exists solely for the purpose of engaging in scientific and educational activities promoting the safety, well-being and comfort of persons engaged in any type of travel or vehicular transportation.
Today, the Snell Memorial Foundation tests various kinds of helmets and certifies them for use in prescribed activities. It currently publishes standards for protective headgear for use in automotive racing, karting, motorcycling, bicycling, non-motorized sports, harness racing and equestrian sports, competitive skiing, and skiing and snowboarding.
The foundation is interested in just about every kind of headgear worn to protect against crash impact injury. Helmet manufacturers submit their products for certification. If their helmets pass the demanding series of performance tests, and therefore meet the referenced standard, the manufacturers are invited to enter a contract with The Snell Memorial Foundation which entitles them to use the Snell Memorial Foundation name and logo in their packaging and advertising, and to purchase certification decals from the foundation for use in their certified products.
However, this contract also requires the certified manufacturers to maintain their high standards for all of their certified production and to participate in the random sample test program.
In this program, the foundation acquires and tests helmets to certify the continuing quality of the products. The foundation takes pains to see that these random sample helmets are drawn from the same supply as those sold in stores; thus, the foundation is able to monitor the quality of the helmets sold directly to consumers.
Participation in the Snell certification program is strictly voluntary. Manufacturers are not obliged to seek certification or to continue it, but when a manufacturer does participate, the foundation demands full compliance. Similarly, the foundation prosecutes all unauthorized use of the Snell name and logo to the full extent of the law.
The Snell Memorial Foundation maintains a state of the art testing facility in North Highlands, Calif. There is a board of directors that oversees the activities of the foundation, and a salaried staff that conducts the testing and performs the administrative functions.
The final draft of the 2005 Snell M and SA/K Standards are available in digital format and can be downloaded from the Snell Web site (www.smf.org). Call the foundation for print booklets.
For more information, contact The Snell Memorial Foundation, 3628 Madison Ave., Suite 11, North Highlands, Calif. 95660; 916/331-5073.

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