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10NR26 - MRF News Release - News from Washington

28 September 2010

Contact: Jeff Hennie, Government Relations and Public Affairs

Action Needed! 

A letter from Congressman James Sensenbrenner is being sent to United States Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood seeking insight into the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's recent request for applications from law enforcement agencies to obtain grant money to hold motorcycle only roadside checkpoints. The letter also asks that the grant process be suspended until sound reasoning for the checkpoints is produced.  

NHTSA recently announced that it would solicit applications and then award grants to police units who want to conduct motorcycle only roadside safety checkpoints. The MRF is strongly in opposition to this program.  

Congressman Sensenbrenner is a long time friend of the MRF and ABATE of WI with a history of supporting motorcycle rights on issues such most notably as one of the first to spearhead the repeal of the National mandatory helmet law in 1995. He has also been a staunch advocate for fairness when it comes to health care issues for motorcyclists, as well as an active and vocal supporter for the NHTSA lobby ban.   

Mr. Sensenbrenner has called on his colleagues to sign a letter of request to the US DOT to gain more information on the motorcycle-only roadside checkpoints and to halt funding until that information is produced.  

Please call your United States Congressman and ask for them to sign on to the Sensenbrenner letter to Secretary Ray LaHood. Deadline for co-signers is close of business September 29th.  

This approach to stopping the roadside checkpoints got unanimous consent when discussed at the MRF Meeting of the Minds 2010 MRF/State Motorcycle Right Organization Legislative Strategy Session held last weekend. 

Senate safety hearing mentions motorcycle helmet use

Today, the Senate Committee on Commerce Science and Transportation held a hearing on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administrations endeavors. The hearing featured NHTSA Administrator David Strickland. Strickland referenced the overall decline in traffic fatalities from 2004-2009. He also suggested that the rise in seat belt use and child restraint use are contributors to the decline. He then went on to point out the rise in motorcycle fatalities over the same time period. 

Strickland's direct quote:

"However, you will notice that there is one indicator that is moving in the wrong direction, motorcycle fatalities. Between 2004 and 2009, the number of motorcycle riders killed increased from just over 4,200 to almost 4,462, an 11 percent increase. The number of motorcycle fatalities did fall between 2008 and 2009, the first time we have seen a decrease in more than a decade. We need to work to build on last year's progress. The most important step we could take would be to assure that all riders wear a DOT-compliant helmet, which are 37 percent effective in reducing fatalities. We estimate that helmets prevented over 1,800 fatalities in 2008, and that more than 800 additional fatalities could have been avoided if all riders wore helmets. NHTSA will actively work with Congress to promote helmet use". 

The MRF will be contacting Strickland to remind him that accident avoidance over safer crashing is the best solution to motorcycle safety. 

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