Good afternoon. A quorum being present, the House Committee on Transportation is now in session. I would like to recognize our Sergeants-At-Arms today, Carlton Adams, Jesse Hayes, Billy Jones, Marvin Lee, and Bob Rosse. Got my back. Our pages today are Macy Harrison of Alamance, sponsored by Representative Riddell -- stand up, please -- Jeffrey Manchester of Mecklenburg, sponsored by Thom Tillis -- who is that? -- and Taylor Morin of Wake, by Representative Hastings. Thank you for helping us today. Without objection, I would like to deviate slightly from the agenda and take up House Bill 117 first, Revised Laws for Unoccupied School Buses. House Bill 117, is there objection? I'd like to take 117 up first, Representative Gill. I think it'll be relatively uncontroversial, and we'll get at least one done today. Okay, House Bill 117, Representative Brody. There is a P.C.S. on the motion of Representative Brown. The P.C.S. is before us. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I'd like to introduce the Bill, changing the speed limits on school buses for unoccupied school buses. The key word is unoccupied school buses. And I want to address a problem. Just briefly, I handed everybody out a information sheet, and I actually put a yellow dot on specifically what the issue is, and I'll let the D.O.T. actually in their drivers' handbook explain what the problem is. It says, a schoolbus with its slow top speed is a safety hazard on high-speed, heavily-traveled interstates and four-lane highways. The Bill just says, first of all, it doesn't change any of the existing rules for school bus travel and school bus limits for when the school bus contains children. None whatsoever. This addresses the issue of unoccupied buses that are on the highways. And it's pretty much as basic as that, and with the permission of the chair I'll entertain any questions. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Mr. Moore is recognized for a question. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you, Mr. Chair. Representative Brody, presently what prohibits the school bus from going past the 55, or making the 55 mile per hour speed? Is there not some type of device on the school bus? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Yes sir, Representative Moore, yes. It's called the governor. It's installed by the manufacturer. And the current law for all school buses, unoccupied or occupied, is 45 miles an hour, top speed. And this is governed by a governor. Yes, sir. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Follow up. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Follow up. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you. I'm just looking at it from a safety concern. What assurance do we have, if we take this governor off, and you have a young person who's a bus driver that's running late to school, with passengers, with children on the bus, what's to stop them from going 55, 65 miles an hour? As a safety issue, because the buses are very, the way they're designed, if there was an accident, it would be very catastrophic. So I'm trying to figure out, how do you balance that? Because that's a reality that could happen, so I'm trying to figure out, have you factored that in to what you want to do? And also, as I understand it, activity buses already have a capacity to go 55 miles an hour when they're on the interstate. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Yes, sir, Representative Moore. There are activity buses that are governed at 55, and there are specifically, each school district has certain buses set aside that have changed the governors. As far as answering your question goes, the other two pages that I put on here are the regulations for how a school bus driver becomes one. And if you read them, they're quite extensive. They're even more extensive than being a truck driver. So to basically answer that question, these are, I guess
It's pretty close to as professional drivers as you can get and we have to rely on that. The other thing is I want to make certain that this is an optional bill for educational departments and they can choose not to do that if they want. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Follow up Mr. Chair? One more. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Follow up. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you. So what you're telling me is that it wouldn't apply statewide if say one LEA wanted to implement it that's fine, but the others aren't held to the same standards. That's what I'm understanding, that it's optional for each school system to apply or not apply this law? [SPEAKER CHANGES] That's correct. And probably some counties don't even have these highways or very limited so it really wouldn't be necessary but it is their option. And also I just want to tell you that both the department of transportation and what we call the NC Pupil Transportation Association has said that they won't oppose this bill. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Representative Gill. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Most of the questions that I was going to ask have already been asked. [SPEAKER CHANGES] I thank the representative for... Representative Shepherd. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Mr. Chair all I was going to do was make a comment to something that was said if that's okay? We don't have student drivers anymore so these are all adult certified drivers, and back when there were student drivers people did tinker [??] with the governors I can tell you. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you. Representative Carney. Mr. Brody do you have a representative from DOT to express their opinion or do you have an opinion from DOT? [SPEAKER CHANGES] DOT unfortunately the man who was going to talk to us is on vacation this week. He said he might have somebody from DOT but they haven't introduced themselves to me so I don't know. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Yes representative Carney? [SPEAKER CHANGES] I just want to make a comment. [SPEAKER CHANGES] The lady is recognized. [SPEAKER CHANGES] I did contact our head of transportation in Charlotte, Mecklenberg, and to ask them about the spill and we - representative Moore, already made some of the comments but the concern here and with these people that are head of our school bus divisions across the state in all counties, the concern is safety of students. And we're going to now raise the speed limit and I understand this is just for without students in the bus, but if you take these governors off as was relayed to me then these drivers on these back roads where it's 55 and they're governor on their bus wont let them go over 45 and they have kids on the bus, if they don't have students on the bus the governors not on there they can go to 55. But the next day they have kids in the bus. How is that bus driver going to control his foot if traffic is pushed up behind him? He's doing 45 and he's pushed to go 55. I just don't see the need for it and of taking the governors off of the bus. I think it's a safety concern, continuing to be one for our students. They're not on the bus all day long, on the streets all day long. These kids don't even have seat belts in the buses. So I just had to say that. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Chairman Iler. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Yes, clarification on a couple of points. The first one is that I understand that if I'm on highway 40, I-40, and see a school bus they cannot go 70 because there's a governor that keeps them from going 45 or 55 or more, is that, from going over that? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Yes sir. Currently if you see a bus on the expressway or a limited access highway, if you read this one a couple sentences further down on where I pointed out initially, it will say that they're not allowed on the highways without - with students on it except in extreme circumstances. So generally if you see one on I-40 or we see one in any of the highways here with the flashing lights going 40 or 45 miles an hour, they don't have students on them. That's correct. And they can't - and they can't right now in current law they can't go faster than 45 miles an hour because they have the governors on them. [SPEAKER CHANGES] One clarification on the governor. Is this something that is easy to remove? I should know more about them but I really don't. [SPEAKER CHANGES] The governor isn't actually removable. It's programmable, so the...
...yeah, a vocal school system can actually change that. They are set in...when the state buys the bus they are bought with a governor in it, ironically, the state...one of the comments that was made to me by DOT is really ironic that when they first buy them, in order to transport them here, they have the governors changed to 65. And then when they get to back to the school systems they bump them down again so they are easily programmable. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Representative Jeter. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you, Mr. Chairman. In the sense of full disclosure, obviously I'm one of the primary sponsors of this bill. I think it is important that Representative Brody just made a very critical point, which is we are not suggesting removing these governors so they can go at the top speed of a school bus. What we are suggesting is allowing the governors to be altered for the school buses traveling predominantly on these bigger, higher, faster roads to be able to travel safely. If you are going 45 miles per hour on an interstate and the speed limit is 65 miles an hour you are causing greater harm to that school bus and to the residents of our communities by forcing them to go that slower speed limit. So we are not suggesting that they could go 70 or 80 miles per hour. We are trying to suggest they travel at a safe speed. As someone who operates in the trucking industry, I can tell you, when you've got an 82 and a half thousand pound truck barreling down on you and you are going 45 miles per hour, it takes a lot to stop that truck. And, so it is a very dangerous situation. I think another compelling argument, and the reason why I'm such a strong supporter of this bill obviously is we do have activity buses that already travel at these speeds with no increased damage or accident rate. And, I think that's a compelling argument of why this is not a risk of safety particularly when you're getting into a situation where it is required by statute that no children be on board. I do agree with Representative Carney that that may not always be adhered to. It becomes problematic. However, it is no different than any activity buses it just frees it up for all the other school buses and the activity buses have not proven to be a problem. So I would strongly urge my committee members to vote in favor of this bill. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Representative Starnes. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Well, this is one of those bills that I like it, but I've got some strong reservations about it, and if we go back and look at why the General Assembly put the 45 mile per hour limit on it to start with, it was because we were having some problems with accidents. And my concern is, just as soon as we adjust the governors so that the buses go 55 and then there is a bus accident and somebody gets hurt, and we hope it doesn't, but we know it will eventually that accidents happen at 45 just like 55, then we are gonna second guess ourselves, well, did it really make a difference if a person went 55 as opposed to 45? What was the hurry? Did they really need to get there that much quicker? But, the temptation is going to be, once you remove the governors, and the bus has the ability to go 55 as opposed to 45, and I understand it makes sense to drive 55 on the interstate or on some of these four lane roads when there are not any children there, but once the governors are off - then they're off. And what's gonna happen is, you're gonna have a school bus driver, and they're running behind and they're in a hurry because he's gotta get home cause he's got somewhere to go, he's got something to do, and they are gonna creep up over the speed limit. And it's just humor nature, not intended, but that's just the way it's gonna be. So we just need to decide are we gonna...do we feel good about raising the speed limits for school buses on the roads because that's eventually what's gonna happen. It's just human nature. If you don't have the governor on there these drivers are gonna go a little bit over the speed limit. [SPEAKER CHANGES] We are gonna displace this bill and give the sponsor a chance to work on it, and gather his support. Representative Torbett, House Bill 109: require safety helmets 18 and under.
[PAUSE] Thank you Mr. Chairman and members of the committee. Mr. Chairman, if I could at this time I brought a handout. Could I see that the committee members, is it okay if they receive that? [SPEAKER CHANGES] I think that was already passed out. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Absolutely wonderful. Thank you Mr. Chairman and thank you for this opportunity to I guess come speak to the committee and talk about motorcycle riding and the helmet laws in North Carolina. Before we go any further, let me go ahead and look at the page. If you’ll turn to the graph in your handout which is this page right here. You’ll notice two categories in the boxes inside the graph, if you say adult choice state fatality rate, mandatory helmet state fatality rate. Two different lines and if you look at that, I think you’ll see some of the reasons why I’m here today. Now we’re going to touch on the humanity of this issue right off the pot. You have or will hear that if you don’t ride a helmet, we’re going to have more traffic fatalities with motorcycles. We may even hear that again today. You’re going to hear how wearing helmets has saved numerous lives. You may hear that again today. You will probably hear that not wearing a motorcycle helmet will drive the cost of insurance through the roof. You’ll probably hear that again today. But now let’s just address some facts. In other states, insurance hasn’t been increased. This graph and if you notice the people that put this graph together wasn’t me or wasn’t proponents on either side, but the data was obtained from the Department of Transportation and National Traffic Safety Administration. 31 states have a no-helmet type law. Some are 18 and under have to wear them, some are nobody has to wear them. So if you look at this graph, and you say well you would think it would say something different than this. You would think that perhaps the adult choice states where they don’t have to wear a helmet would be somewhere off the chart as opposed to those states that have a mandatory helmet law, as far as fatalities go. So I guess what it is, is that we just need to address the facts. Now I would add that [PAUSE] I guess the fact is I ride a motorcycle, when I get a chance. And as many of you all know, serving here today, we don’t get as many chances to do things we like to do, as we would like. But such comes with the sacrifice and service. I’ve gone through two trickle chargers in the last two years. Anybody know what a trickle charge is? That’s right. That’s something you have to keep attached to your vehicle, in this case a motorcycle, just to keep the battery up in it. But if we’re seriously addressing the safety implications and the seriousness, I mean the people that getting killed on the highway is a very serious issue. It’s the humanity of this issue. And should we not also address, as comical as it seems, should we not also address vehicular deaths, should we require automobile riders to wear helmets? Because what you’re sitting here if you haven’t ever ridden a motorcycle or if you don’t plan or never have or just, but you’ve driven plenty of cars, then you would, you might say you know I see why we need to have those motorcycle riders wear helmets because it just looks safer with a helmet on. Well perhaps if motorcycle riders or people riding cars would say maybe if we just had people riding in cars and driving cars wear helmets, they’d be safer. And think of all the fatalities in car accidents across the country we might be able to save if drivers wore helmets. So you see how humanity is addressed. So we all go back to statistics and we go back to the facts that those statistics prove. I’ll refer back to the chart. I remind you that 31 states have this similar type of law. The law will basically require if you’re 18 and under, that you must wear a helmet. Period. It would
Allow individuals older than age to 261 word, not I wear a helmet or place or 10 North Carolina , about 3 miles of South Carolina and support not uncommon to drive down their stocking over the next day, not the bank, motorcycle that as much?? Much use to do so in South Carolina provides an opportunity to our own ago 19 biggest some of its I will stop and suggested we have a dressy questions to clear the chairman at this time and (SPEAKER CHANGES) a stop at 13 represent Wyler is read as 27 fourth amendment that was chairman of the man that some distant past to a blues and old from Ellen M on local fashion questions and see the pain of Libya will sponsor also this amendment changes in age from 18 to 21 and no, I would agree with the bill's sponsor and the freedom aspects of his safety concerns of parents to scoring another problem also read on, Thomson level in 21 under level 18 and also say that one of the charts near south Carolina’s get the same 21 days when it and wears two months after while rally and model of the state is near South Carolina so little time to change their economic activity on the calls to mind but they estimate on how to concern I have concerns that have a concern 18 nothing there's a few more good decisions made 21 and 18th straight events as they near 45 to 62 for aware of that looked on the mortgage assistance of a contract major leaguers 21 on hold for images Achtenberg, I would recommend about our commander Mamet’s and calm again, (SPEAKER CHANGES) five from level workers for the bill a 21 a day until scored 18 as to what would you like speak to the amendment first I'd like to thank the chairman of trying this and I wish the support of this man with any questions for discussion on the amendment on their way the Rep said that the latest victim of this chair of just the clarification as we'll be sure what this amendment that would include people were 21 would be just over 20 to 21 and older right but this requires issue where one which are under 21 languages sentenced under 18 not be allowed to do without, $21.00 a 210 era, (SPEAKER CHANGES) clarification on your 21st birthday you can no longer quiet whirring on the opinion of bank on the amendment to many as five amendments say I was opposed giving the chair of the amendment Carries are back on the main bill a question from sponsor Epson the deal but the higher the percentage of our kids are motorcycle fatalities for a period (SPEAKER CHANGES) with drivers under the age of 21 are things are beginning to 21 I guess in turn is the article ID is seeing in and out of the non ms accidents motorcycle accounted for the current wave riders over the age of 21 are under the age of 21 of the county's mention of our shooting around the station are current laws passed, our 1978 through 2000 and to understand them all using guns and we had 85 from bill had been with the miss chairman, (SPEAKER CHANGES) and we do have some individual amounts of money a costly and information I'm uncertain fate of the docket, and to have three people signed the loan might be useful for the committee to listen to them and will continue with questions by without objection of ……..
That like to recognize Thomas Jay Wasileski PHD who represents the North Carolina Concerned Bikers Association. Dr. Wasil (help me out) Wasileski. Okay. Three minutes sir. [SPEAKER CHANGES] I’ll be brief. I have two things to say. Typically in a hearing like this you hear a lot of information. Statistical studies that have been conducted by (??) or some other government agency. I’d like to say that, I’d like to quote Mark Twain. I have a PHD from UNC Chapel Hill. During my training, I got lot of information and a lot of training and a lot of education in scientific studies and experiments. I’d like to quote Mark Twain because it was one of the first things they told me in my first statistics class. It was, “there are liars, damn liars, and statisticians.” I know you’ve all heard that before and that’s not to impugn anybody’s integrity. That’s to say in scientific studies or in studies of the nature this is given, that you have an agenda or an opinion before your start your study, your study’s likely to come out with the results you want. A lot of the information you hear that are statistics from studies may be just that. This is what they wanted to hear in the first place. The second thing I’d like to say it is that this is not about the helmet. The CCA data is not anti-helmet. We’re pro choice. Well, I don’t want to say that. We’re pro freedom of choice. We, excuse me, I’ve had lung cancer and I’m having trouble breathing. We’re not anti-helmet. We are pro choice. The discussion today in this bill is not about the helmet, it’s about the law. In 1967, some bureaucrats up in Washington DC decided it would be a good idea to put helmet on bikers. They passed a bill, or passed whatever they did. They started to blackmail the states. They said that if states didn’t pass a law that said you had to wear a motorcycle helmet, then they would devalue highway funds. In the 1970’s, US Congress found that was unconstitutional and that they couldn’t do that. They cancelled that policy. Thirty states since then have overturned their helmet laws. I ask that North Carolina it would get with the rest of the country and repeal our current helmet laws. Give the opportunity for mature responsible writers to make the choice about what kind of safety equipment they’re going to wear. Thank you for your time. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you sir. Dr. Ossie Adeckwoo speaking for the Association of Emergency Room Physicians. Sir, please correct your organization. I have the correct spelling of your name. I hope I pronounced it close to correctly. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you. My name is Dr. Ossie Adeckwoo. I’m the Director of Trauma at Wake Med. I am a general surgeon by profession and I take care of patients. I’ve served the people of North Carolina at Wake Med for 22 years. I’ve led the trauma unit as the director of trauma for ten. I am a colonel in the Air Force Reserve now and I serve at (??) Airbase in Afghanistan in 2003 as a US Army physician. I've taken care of brain injured patients in both the civilian and military setting for my whole career. It is important to understand that if you do have a crash the likelihood of survival with lower injuries is better with a helmet. There is long term consequences that we are recognizing. Coming back from the war, you see all the soldiers now with this issue of traumatic brain injury that people talk about. Post Traumatic Stress Disorders that are tied in with that. You see new information about concussions in athletes and in children about just how two times a concussion can lead to permanent brain damage and long term consequences. We feel that everybody deserves the best possible protection. We think that the consequences, the burden of cost both on the patient, their family, and the people of North Carolina when a patient…
Injured, have long term ramifications that may involve long term support from the state, from disability or from rehabilitative services that have to be taken into consideration when you look at prevention of brain injuries. As a physician, my role is prevention, because we know that if you are injured, the likelihood of you getting back to where you were to start with is much lower. So if we can prevent even one injury or one death, physicians stand on that side. Whether it’s civilian or military, our passion is patient care and prevention of injuries. I’m not here with a book of statistics. I’m just here as a physician to say we should do the right thing for the people of North Carolina. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you sir. Are there any questions for Doctor Udekwu? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Representative Moore. Representative Moore, would you please use your microphone? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Doctor, I’m curious to know, let’s just use the scenario that you have a cyclist with no helmet on and they get into an accident. What I want to know is what, at let’s say 45 miles an hour impact, what’s the likelihood of that person being permanently, what would be his medical prognosis if he was wearing a helmet as opposed to not wearing one? What would be his prognosis with those two scenarios? [SPEAKER CHANGES] What I can say is that it is generally accepted throughout the world that wearing a helmet when engaged in either motorcycle or cycling, that the risk of injury or death is reduced. The higher the speeds, the more likely the severe consequences will occur. There’s no way to produce a statistic that would say you’re twice as likely at 45 or three times as likely at 70. There are people who have fallen out of golf carts at 5 miles an hour and sustained lethal brain injuries. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you, Doctor. Mr. Tom, Representative Cleveland. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you Mr. Chair. There we go. I don’t know if the Doctor could address this or the bill sponsor, but someplace in the last year or 18 months or whatever it was, I was reading a report and in that report it stated that safety helmets, once you exceed a speed of about I think it was 15 or it might have been 20 miles an hour, the actual safety factor of the helmet goes away, as far as brain injuries are concerned. Could either of you gentlemen address that? [SPEAKER CHANGES] There obviously must be a speed at which human tissues will no longer tolerate a sudden change in vector or speed, but in the general speeds that we deal with in the care of injured patients in the hospital which ranges usually somewhere less than a hundred miles an hour, we feel that protection makes a difference. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Mr. Jeter, do you have a question for the Doctor? [SPEAKER CHANGES] I do, Mr. Chairman. [SPEAKER CHANGES] The gentleman’s recognized for a question. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you Mr. Chairman. Can you tell me, Doctor, and I appreciate your time out here today in coming and sharing with us your experiences [COUGH] excuse me. Can you share with us what the likelihood of a motorcycle victim is, with or without a helmet, to the general public at large? In other words, if I’m on a motorcycle and I wreck with a helmet, or wreck without a helmet, have I caused any more damage to any other individual? [SPEAKER CHANGES] From a public health perspective, I can answer that question. The cost burden of the care of injuries for a patient who sustains a brain injury, in the context of an initial hospitalization may be in excess of $250,000. The long term consequences of a single brain injury who becomes dependent on society will exceed millions of dollars. That is a cost that we all bear. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Follow up, Mr. Chairman. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Follow up.
[Speaker changes.] ...I guess..and not to say I'm morbid but now I'm confused. If I'm less likely to die with a helmet on, aren't I more likely to live and therefore, more likely to suffer significant brain trauma to the example you just gave? [Speaker changes.] Unfortunately that logic doesn't seem to work in healthcare. Basically, we have what we feel to be a reduced risk of death and also a reduced risk of severe injuries so the whole scale is pushed. You're not just pushing people who didn't die into a severe brain injury category, you're pushing all survivors into a better category and reducing the overall risk and burden of injury. [Speaker changes.] Thank you, doctor. Mr. Tom Vitaglioni??????? from Action for Children. [Speaker changes.] Thank you, Mister Chairman and members of the committee. I'm Tom ????????? and I'm a senior fellow with Action for Children, North Carolina. I'm here to represent...I guess to speak for many agencies and groups that are very concerned about this proposal. And, we haven't seen what Representative Torbett has handed out but there are, as was mentioned earlier...there are different ways to look at statistics. By the same agency that was quoted, probably Representative Torbett's using raw numbers, if you do them by 100,000 registered motorcycles in the state...and North Carolina's a big user. North Carolina, since its inception of its law in 1968, has come out number one in saving lives and number two in saving money. And we can later on discuss how all of these statistics work out but we save 80 lives and $163,000,000 in just a recent year so these helmets do make a difference. But, given the fact that statistics can...you can worry about statistics here, here's a couple that are clear: that is, our own governor's highway safety program did a random sample survey of North Carolinians...78% of motorcyclists in North Carolina support the current law. Seventy eight percent. 94% of all motorists support the current law. There are always folks who would like to change it but, if you're looking for democracy and you wanna please the most, these are the numbers you need to look at. In addition, we have a rare case of an experiment that goes before us. That is that Florida, in 2000, went to a partial law. Well what happened in Florida? They saw a 40% increase in motorcycle crashes involving a brain injury and the costs of those doubled to $44,000,000 a year. And, incidentally, noting what the requirement for insurance in the bill, 75% of motorcyclists were hospitalized with medical costs over $10,000 so that might be something you need to look at. Now, I'm here particularly, coming from Action for Children, worried about what happened in Florida to children...defined as under 21, incidentally, in Florida. And, when that law...that law was changed, even tho' folks under 21 were still required to wear a helmet, deaths in that group went up 188% and the reason was, reported by law enforcement, that they just found it impossible to enforce a law when somebody could have a helmet, somebody didn't have a helmet...and if somebody's rushing by at 40 mph trying to figure out whether they're 21 or not is impossible. So the only way it's enforced is if they commit another infraction. The costs...one could go on and on frankly...but the costs that were mentioned earlier....many of those costs, particularly the uninsured or to people who are ...get into the disability category, we pick up under Medicaid...and I know you've been really worried about the expansion of Medicaid... [Speaker changes.] Mr. Vitaglioi???????, could I ask you to wrap up? [Speaker changes.] I will..I will. On top of the 78% of motorcycle riders who support the law, we have Brain Injury Association...they're...supports the current law...all of the medical providers and groups in the state support the current law...the local health director....
The ?? winding up at the Senate is not a fair grab, sir. Thank you, I appreciate it. I have Representative Faircloth, Starnes, Moore, Boles, Shepard and we've still got Representative Cleveland. We're not going to be able to vote this today but I'm going to go ahead and recognize Representative Faircloth so we can continue debate until a quarter till at which time we have session. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Question of the sponsor. I noticed on your chart the fatality rate appears to be lower on quite a large part of that chart in those states that do not have, that have choice, I should say. If you think that might be, in your experience as a rider and knowing other people who are riders could that possibly be explained by the fact that you're much more able to receive your surroundings when you're not wearing a helmet than when you have one on? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Mr. Chairman. In response to representative's question, one might assume that, but it's all speculative. One could say that and one could say no. I personally, from personal experience, know that my peripherals are increased by not wearing a helmet even with a full face helmet without the absolute turn of the head so to speak as a rider, but if I were to say yes or no it would be just me offering an opinion, not any official statistics. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Follow up. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Follow up. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you. I can understand what you're saying, but it seems to me that there has to be some explanation for, the only difference that we have in these two is in one case they're wearing a helmet, in the other case they're not, and the ones not wearing a helmet have a better fatality rate so it would seem to me that that would indicate, maybe not prove, but indicate that one has better perception, maybe being able to turn their head and hear behind them and so forth. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Mr. Chairman I concur with the representative and I would take you back to perhaps one of the reasons that the chart reflects what it does is to the simple reason why this law was originally formed in North Carolina was to access federal grant money and to make sure they kept it, and we're learning nowadays that that may not be the best stick as opposed to getting the carrot, but, you know, just let them speak for themselves and I fully expect the medical history to come out against this, believe me, I do and I can understand where they're coming from, but if we're that concerned about the prevention of life or reducing head traumas then I go back to the statement of why don't we require pedestrians that are injured, we have a large number of pedestrian fatalities, we have a tremendous large amount of vehicle fatalities, that if we're after the health of the individual more so than tacking on mandates from people that aren't that familiar with what. In other words you may be an automobile driver, never ridden a motorcycle, but we're going to mandate motorcycle people to do this because it sounds better, and I think that's the current state that we're in right now. And we're not saying do not wear a helmet. My guess is that a safety instructor will say you would be better off wearing a helmet, we're just giving you the freedom, and I personally am not 100% convinced that, as someone mentioned earlier, that once you reach a certain rate of speed I would doubt full body armor could prevent serious illness. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Representative Starnes. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you, Representative Torbitt. My question is on the medical insurance required to be covered, it states that they have to have $10,000 which is probably about 1 day in the emergency room. It sounds a little bit low. Is this standard throughout the other states, or what does South Carolina or other states that have no helmet law require as far as medical coverage. [SPEAKER CHANGES] I defer to one of the speakers, Mr. Chairman. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Which speaker? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Don or perhaps staff might have the answer available. [SPEAKER CHANGES] ?? I have ?? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Could you repeat the question, please? [SPEAKER CHANGES] I think it had to do with the insurance and was that a standard, $10,000, is that correct? I think the question would be is the $10,000 in medical coverage standard for states that allow helmet free riding. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Most states that allow helmet free riding don't have an insurance rider on their law. This is a new
FYI This clip is only 59.7 seconds long. A new issue that has come up since Florida passed their helmet law. Florida passed theirs, and it was $10,000. Most recently the law passed in Michigan, and theirs was $20,000. Mr. Chairman, um, if $10,000 coverage is about the same as no coverage at all, so you may want to consider upping the limits because if you have a wreck on a motorcycle, there's no good outcome, and so, my concern is that we don't want these people to be wards of the state. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Would staff see in they can generate some numbers on what the costs are from any statistics we might have for the next -- I think at this point we're out of time. I appreciate your attention today. This meeting is adjourned. [GAVEL DOWN]