2nd Quarter WCMS Bulletin posted to website

The bulletin is posted on the members only section of the website and should be in your mailboxes soon (if not already!)

 

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More on Motorcycles

Here is a message from Jim Mitchiner

Once again, the state Senate has passed a bill repealing Michigan’s mandatory motorcycle helmet law. If this bill becomes law, it would have catastrophic consequences for injured motorcyclists in Michigan, and would impact the economy as well, since taxpayers would foot the bill for acute and chronic medical care of uninsured motorcyclists with severe head injuries. The senate evidently felt that requiring motorcyclists to have personal injury insurance before getting a license will obviate the need for a mandatory helmet law, but this clearly will not work. As healthcare professionals, we must not allow this to go forward!!

Please call Governor Rick Snyder’s office, at his constituent services direct line, 517-335-7858, and ask that he veto legislation that repeals Michigan’s motorcycle helmet law.
I promise this will take less than 2 minutes, so please do it today!

Thank you,

Jim Mitchiner, WCMS Legislative Committee Chair
MSMS has also asked us to encourage members to visit the front page of the MSMS website at www.msms.org.   It features an article about the motorcycle helmet law repeal.  The Senate already has passed this bill, so we need to stop it in the House.  Members can click on the link on the front page article.  It will take them to the Action Center where they can easily send an email to their state representative.  The House is not likely to take this bill up until fall, so this summer is the time for physicians to have their voices heard.

    Thanks for your willingness to take action on the potential repeal of Michigan’s Mandatory Motorcycle Helmet Law.

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Posted in Legislative, MSMS, News, Voices of our members. Tags: , , , . Comments Off on More on Motorcycles

Michigan’s Helmet Law at Risk

Submitted by William Meurer, MD, MS

An Open Letter to Governor

Rick Snyder

Given the legislature’s attention on a potential public health problem, I recently contacted the governor. Below is my letter to Rick Snyder (delivered via email) and his response presented here verbatim.

Since injury prevention is an important role for physicians, and the health of the residents of Washtenaw County (and Michigan as a whole) is quite important to us as members of the county and state

medical societies, I believe the mandatory motorcycle helmet law is an issue that we should consider and provide advice, based on facts, to the legislature. Given the legislature’s stated goal of reducing

government spending – it is perplexing that a law which will likely increase the costs (especially to Medicaid) of both acute and long term care for motorcycle crash victims is being effectively rubber stamped by the State House and Senate.

 

Rick,

I am an Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine at the University of Michigan and my primary research focus is acute neurological emergencies – including head trauma. The legislature is

wasting their time on this cost increasing measure to repeal helmet laws for motorcycles.

 

NHTSA has prepared a report on this http://www.nhtsa.gov/people/injury/pedbimot/motorcycle/Motorcycle_HTML/overview.html#7

but to summarize.

-Over 50% of motorcycle crash victims are not covered by private health insurance

-Helmets reduce the likelihood of suffering a major traumatic brain injury

-Patients who suffer a major traumatic brain injury are likely to end up in a nursing home, funded by Michigan medicaid. (A $20,000 insurance rider would be used up in the first 3 days in the Intensive Care Unit, and would not go far towards paying for 24 hour nursing care).

-When California passed a helmet law, spending on motorcycle related head injuries fell from $36.6 million (1991 prelaw) to $15.9 million after law in 1992. This would not include the postacute hospitalization care that was likely disproportionately borne by Medicaid in that state from these head trauma victims.

 

Tell the legislature to get to work on measures that actually increase economic growth and increase the efficiency of government services.

 

Will Meurer

 

Governor Snyder’s Response

Dear William Meurer,

Thank you for your recent correspondence regarding Michigan’s Motorcycle Helmet Law. I appreciate

your concerns and ideas as we move forward reinventing Michigan. Presently, all persons riding a

motorcycle, and any person less than 19 years of age operating a moped on a public thoroughfare, are required to wear a crash helmet on his or her head. The Michigan Department of State Police has been given the legislative responsibility to approve crash helmets and to promulgate rules to implement this law.

 

Section 257.658 of the Michigan Vehicle Code reads as follows:

Sec. 658.

(1) A person propelling a bicycle or operating a motorcycle or moped shall not ride other than upon and astride a permanent and regular seat attached to that vehicle.

(2) A bicycle or motorcycle shall not be used to carry more persons at 1 time than the number for which it is designed and equipped.

(3) A moped shall not be used to carry more than 1 person at a time.

(4) A person operating or riding on a motorcycle, and any person less than 19 years of age operating a moped on a public thoroughfare shall wear a crash helmet on his or her head. Crash helmets

shall be approved by the department of state police. The department of state police shall promulgate rules for the implementation of this section pursuant to the administrative procedures act of 1969, 1969 PA 306, MCL 24.201 to 24.315.

Rules in effect on June 1, 1970, shall apply to helmets required by this act. This subsection does not apply to a person operating or riding in an autocycle if the vehicle is equipped with a roof which

meets or exceeds standards for a crash helmet.

(5) A person operating or riding in an autocycle shall wear seat belts when on a public highway in this state.

 

Recently, SB 291 was referred to committee of the whole. You can track the progress of this bill and other

legislation online at http://www.legislature.mi.gov. While I must reserve final judgment on this legislation until it reaches its final form, I would support changes to Michigan’s mandatory helmet law only if other motorists don’t pay more as a result. Please be assured that should related legislation come before me for final signature, I will be certain to keep your views close at hand.

 

Again, thank you for your recent correspondence. Please do not hesitate to contact my office if I can be of assistance regarding this or any other state-related matter.

 

Sincerely,

Rick Snyder

Governor