NHTSA Requests Motorcycle Safety Money
Administrator David Strickland of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has submitted his 2012 budget request to the Appropriations Committees. One item in particular jumped off the page when the Motorcycle Riders Foundation (MRF) examined the $860 million request. Section 3011, Motorcycle Safety Grants, includes a $7 million ask that specifically adds the promotion of DOT compliant helmet use to the fund.
In the past, the motorcycle safety grant program has solely put money toward two areas: teaching people to ride motorcycles and educating the rest of the motoring public to look for motorcycles while driving. Diluting this already small grant program to include helmet use promotion will certainly diminish the effectiveness of the two existing programs.
In a recent Senate hearing, Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood was asked by Senator Lautenberg (D-NJ) to include a mandatory helmet law in his budget request. LaHood responded, "This administration believes that is a State issue." Apparently Strickland did not get that information.
It is troubling that NHTSA, whose mantra should be "crash avoidance," continues to promote "safer crashing." The MRF believes that the best crash is the one that doesn't happen. The MRF will keep you updated on this important issue.
Congressional Recess Period
Next week is the March Congressional recess period. Contact your US Senators and Representatives to attend a town hall meeting or face-to-face constituent meeting. Let them know you are not happy with NHTSA's requests and actions. Do not hesitate to contact the MRF should you need talking points or help scheduling a meeting.