Press Release - 05-25-2017

DMV News


Thursday, May 25, 2017

Joe Morrissey         [email protected]
Rich Meddaugh     [email protected]


DMV Encourages Motorcyclists to Use DOT-Compliant Helmets

New video explains importance of adhering to federal standards 

The New York State Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) and the Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee (GTSC) today urged motorcyclists to be certain that they and their passengers wear DOT-compliant helmets to ensure their safety. Novelty or fake helmets do not provide sufficient protection and can lead to brain injury. 

A new YouTube video explains the difference between a safe helmet that complies with federal Department of Transportation standards and other helmets that are far less safe. In the video, State Trooper Ian DeGiovine displays the difference in the level of protection the two helmets provide. 

“I would never think of riding a motorcycle without a DOT-compliant helmet,” DeGiovine says in the video. He demonstrates that non-compliant helmets have an inner lining that is often much too thin to provide sufficient protection. 

“This video clearly explains the importance of choosing the right helmet and the dangers of choosing the wrong one,” said Terri Egan, DMV Executive Deputy Commissioner and Acting Chair of the GTSC. “Novelty helmets and non-compliant helmets simply do not offer the protection motorcyclists and their passengers need, and they do not comply with New York State law.” 

When buying a helmet, look for the DOT sticker on the back to be certain it is compliant. You should also look for a tag inside the helmet that states the manufacturer’s name, model, size, month and year of manufacture, and the materials it is made of. If a helmet does not include these items, it is not DOT compliant. 

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has also produced a video on how to select a DOT-compliant helmet. The helmet should fit squarely on your head and fit comfortably. It should never be tilted back on your head. After fastening the chin straps, make sure the helmet is on tight and cannot roll off your head. If it can roll off, it is too big. The helmet or face shield should not touch your nose or chin. 

If a helmet is damaged or the lining has worn down, it should be replaced. Riders should never buy a used helmet but should get one of their own to be sure it is in proper condition and fits correctly.

New York State Police Superintendent George P. Beach II said, “The helmet is the single most important piece of safety gear for a motorcyclist. Don’t take chances with your life, or the life of your passenger. We urge all motorcyclists to use only DOT-compliant helmets to ensure maximum protection while out on the road.” 

This year, New York State marked the 50th anniversary of the passage of its law requiring all motorcycle riders and their passengers to wear DOT-compliant helmets. New York’s law was the first in the nation and a model for other states. 

NHTSA estimates that DOT-compliant helmets saved the lives of 1,772 motorcyclists nationwide in 2015. If all motorcyclists had worn such helmets, an additional 740 lives could have been saved. You can read the 2015 NHTSA report

The federal agency also estimated in a report that 76 lives were saved in New York in 2014 as a result of the State’s motorcycle helmet law and another eight could have been saved with full compliance with the law. Read the NHTSA report on NYS motorcycle helmet law

For more information on traffic safety in New York, please visit