Michigan repealed a 35-year mandatory helmet law in April 2012. We examined the impact of this legislation on a level 1 trauma center.
A retrospective cohort study comparing the 7-month period before and the 3 motorcycle seasons after the helmet law repeal.
A total of 345 patients were included in the study. Nonhelmeted riders increased from 7% to 28% after the repeal. Nonhelmeted crash scene fatalities were higher after the repeal (14% vs 68%). The nonhelmeted cohort had significantly higher in-patient mortality (10% vs 3%), injury severity score (19 vs 14.5) and abbreviated injury scale head (2.2 vs 1.3). Non-helmeted riders also had increased alcohol use, intensive care unit length of stay and need for mechanical ventilation. The median hospital cost for the non-helmeted cohort was higher (P < .05).
The impact of the Michigan helmet law repeal continues to evolve. Three years after this legislative change, we are now observing increased injury severity score, higher in-patient mortality, and worse neurologic injury.
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Published online: December 20, 2015
Received in revised form: November 25, 2015
Received: July 13, 2015
There were no relevant financial relationships or any sources of support in the form of grants, equipment, or drugs.
The authors declare no conflicts of interest.
© 2016 Elsevier Inc. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.