DOT Helmet Failure Rate Is Now 43 Percent - BMW F800 Riders Forum & Registry



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  1. #1
    Daboo's Avatar
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    Interesting article.

    Chris

    __________________________________________________ _________

    MOTORCYCLE NEWS
    DOT Helmet Failure Rate Is Now 43 Percent


    WADE THIEL FEBRUARY 7, 2020




    In The Government’s Own Sanctioned Testing

    The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) employed Act Labs—an independent lab in California—to test DOT helmets for labeling and performance from 2014 to 2019. During that time, the lab tested 167 helmets. 62.8 percent of the helmets failed the labeling portion and a whopping 43.1 percent of the helmets failed the performance tests. This is an increase over last year’s numbers.

    This is especially concerning because DOT approval is a self-certification process, meaning the company itself is responsible for ensuring that its helmets mee the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 218 (DOT FMVSS 218).

    Helmets that fail the testing will be forced to issue a recall and potentially be fined. This is good, but those helmets never should have been sold in the first place. There’s a lot of argument out there about what is the best helmet safety standard. ECE is what’s used in Europe. Then there’s SHARP, Snell, and FIM standards. They all claim to be the best.

    I’m not here to argue which standard is best.
    What I am here to do is showcase that many of the DOT-only helmets for sale out there fail to meet the standard, which is a standard many in the industry agree is already outdated and doesn’t provide the level of protection needed for riders. However, around 43 percent of the helmets tested couldn’t even meet these inadequate standards.

    Act Labs tested Bell, Scorpion, Shoei, and HJC helmets as well as many other helmets. You can see which ones failed the tests by checking out the Office of Vehicle Safety Compliance website.

    So what should you do?
    At the very least, I’d check at the website above to see if a helmet you’re considering was tested and passed the testing. You could also consider buying a helmet that has been approved by one of the other helmet safety standards out there. Snell and FIM standards seem to me to be the best. The bottom line? DOT means pretty much nothing. Don’t trust it.

    Elnathan - 2014 BMW F800GT
    IBA# 49894 True Rounder = 0-20's - Rounder -- to -- 100's+ Red Hot Rounder

    John 14:6 

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  4. #2
    Daboo's Avatar
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    The easy way to do the database search is to chose "218" as the test in the far left column. Then pick your helmet brand from the next column over. Below the table is a button labeled "LIMIT TEST". That'll bring up the results.

    Chris
    Elnathan - 2014 BMW F800GT
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    MGD109's Avatar
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    That's actually quite shocking, find it difficult to believe manufactures can self certificate.

    I always check any prospective helmet with the UK SHARP list, but a helmet has to be on sale BEFORE it can be tested which to me is just madness.
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    Well, I am not surprised. While I am concerned about the performance failures, the problem about labeling not being correct doesn't faze me in the least, as long as it says "DOT" on the back of the helmet to keep the cops happy.
    Richard - Current bikes: 2016 BMW R1200RS, 2018 16.6 kWh Zero S, 2011 Royal Enfield Bullet 500 Classic, 2009 BMW F650GS, 2005 Triumph T-100 Bonneville, 2002 Yamaha FZ1 (FZS1000N) and a 1978 Honda Kick 'N Go Senior. 

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    notacop is offline The original Schwartz Wald Troll
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    Well, for what it's worth, I destroyed a Shoei RF200 and a Scorpion 1000 crashing and my head survived reasonably well those two times.
    There's DOT, Snell and the European rating. DOT being the least trustworthy?

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    Quote Originally Posted by MGD109 View Post
    That's actually quite shocking, find it difficult to believe manufactures can self certificate.
    It's an issue of practicality (testing literally millions of products in a few central facilities) while maintaining innovation in the market and managing taxpayer expense.

    If you think DOT is abused, you'll never plug in an electrical device if you knew of the abuse of UL.

    The manufacturer maintains the model number of the product so as not to require further testing. But the electrical guts change over time. Meaning the original certification does not relate to the current product. Or, the UL is stamped without any testing. Or the UL is used across multiple products from the same company.

    It's all a calculated risk - manufacturers know that the sheer volume of items in the market place make enforcement nearly impossible.
    Last edited by Runmyownlife; 02-07-20 at 07:21 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Richard230 View Post
    Well, I am not surprised. While I am concerned about the performance failures, the problem about labeling not being correct doesn't faze me in the least, as long as it says "DOT" on the back of the helmet to keep the cops happy.
    Strangely I still value what is left in my brain, hence if I buy a helmet I like to know it is better than a tea pot cosy. 'Sharp' testing helps to get us the best value for money as it isn't necessarily the most expensive helmets that offer the best protection. However I sadly have an 'expensive head' as none of the cheap helmets seem to fit me!

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    Interesting. I checked out HJC as brand 'HJC Helmets' which only brings up one result (which passed). Brand 'HJC' brings up 26 models, some that passed and some that failed. My current helmet is an RPHA ST. The only possible match is an RPHA 90 but this is from 2019. I bought the ST at least 2 or 3 years ago. Looks like mine has never been independently tested. I think I'll go with a SNELL or other certification next time around. Thanks for posting this.
    used 2004 R1150RT -> new 2014 F800GT

     

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    One of the things they said, was that if the helmet failed in testing, the company would replace it. I expect that a company as well known as HJC, would stand behind their product.

    Chris
    Elnathan - 2014 BMW F800GT
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    FWIW I looked up my current helmet, a Shoei GT-Air. Fairly well-rated most places, and the most expensive piece of gear I own, but somehow it *failed* the DOT testing!

    I was shocked until I looked at the report. It failed because the date of manufacture sticker wasn't as permanent as the testing regulations prescribed.

  15. #11
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    When there self-certification there will be abuse. What surprises me is the number of respected name brands on that list. I did not expect that.

    I am going to check my helmets when at my computer later (reference link GUI very small on the mobile phone) to see how they fared. I actually have an RPHA Carbon on order since December. Revzilla says HJC has delayed shipments until April.
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    I'm a bit complacent about helmet safety, my main concern is to not get fined for riding without one - no offense.

    When I got my rider's license in Queensland in the 60s there were no helmet laws and I rode to work every day on my Suzuki 80 bareheaded. On rainy days I regularly took a spill on the tram tracks Brisbane had back then. ' have to admit I've always missed the feeling of total freedom of riding without a helmet on a fine day and these days when I'm riding in the bush with no one around I absolutely love leaving my Shoei strapped to the tailrack. But I know this will upset many and I do apologise for that.

    I just realised you have states in the US where riding without a helmet is legal; I'm definitely coming over some day.
    Last edited by Toto; 4 Weeks Ago at 03:32 AM.

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    You can see what comes of it if there are no independent checks.

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  19. #14
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    Just looked at my new AGV K6, on the back it says DOTs but more importantly it says ECE 2205 and it doesn't say Snell. I'm not hating on Snell but go back to the old Snell test which was good for car helmets but not so much for motorcycle helmets. IMO the ECE standard is ahead of the other standards . DOT is not bad but I'm happy with just ECE certification and a DOT sticker. I do think DOT and Snell are much closer to the ECE standard than they used to be. Having struggled with a concussion from a scooter helmet worn improperly in a scooter crash I want a good helmet. One of these days I'll get around to posting up a review of the K6 - very comfy, quiet and super light and I don't the the alien bug bite like I did with the Shark.

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