On May 6, U.S. Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.) will introduce the Stop Motorcycle Checkpoint Funding Act. The bill will protect motorcyclists’ rights and promote crash prevention as the most effective use of taxpayer money to save motorcyclists’ lives. Sensenbrenner is currently seeking to add original cosponsors before the introduction of the bill.
The bill incorporates Sensenbrenner’s legislation (H.R. 904) introduced in the previous Congress. H.R. 904 would prohibit the U.S. Department of Transportation from providing funds to state and local authorities for the purpose of creating motorcycle-only checkpoints.
However, this bill also contains language to force the DOT to focus motorcycle safety efforts on crash prevention programs.
The Stop Motorcycle Checkpoint Funding Act amends Section 153 of Title 23, United States Code, by removing “motorcycle helmets.” This change will prohibit the DOT from providing grants to a state to enforce helmet laws. It will also prohibit the DOT from interfering in state matters with federal funds.
For many years, the American Motorcyclist Association has strongly encouraged the voluntary use by adult riders of helmets certified by their manufacturers to meet the DOT standard as part of a comprehensive motorcycle safety program to help reduce injuries and fatalities in the event of a motorcycle crash.
However, helmet mandates do not prevent crashes. The AMA believes that comprehensive motorcycle safety programs must promote strategies that are designed to prevent motorcycle crashes from occurring in the first place.
Current law states highway safety plans must prevent crashes and reduce injuries.
The Stop Motorcycle Checkpoint Funding Act would require highway safety plans to include programs that “prevent accidents in order to reduce injuries and deaths resulting from accidents involving motor vehicles and motorcycles” by amending Section 402 of Title 23, United States Code.
Historically, the enforcement of helmet mandates has siphoned away scarce funds from effective crash prevention programs such as rider education and motorist awareness.
This bill is critical to ending the discriminatory practice of MOCs and saving motorcyclists’ lives. The motorcycling community needs you to contact your representative now to ask them to become an original cosponsor. Just follow the "Take Action" option to send a pre-written email directly to your representative.
To view the AMA's efforts to end motorcycle-only checkpoints, go to http://www.americanmotorcyclist.com/rights/motorcycleonlycheckpoints.aspx.
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