What Are Mississippi’s Motorcycle Helmet Laws?

Published on Mar 20, 2024 at 4:09 pm in Motorcycle Accidents.

As with all states, Mississippi has rules that apply to motorcycle drivers and riders who travel on our roadways. Most of the laws concerning responsible driving on a motorcycle are similar to those required for driving other vehicles.

However, motorcycles have a unique set of laws that all drivers and riders are required to follow regarding safety, specifically helmets.

So, what exactly are Mississippi’s motorcycle helmet laws, and how can drivers and bike riders ensure they abide by them?

In this blog, we’ll explain what the laws on helmet usage are for motorcyclists and what you and other bikers you know can do to make sure you stay safe out on the road.

Understanding Helmet Laws and Usage

Fortunately, Mississippi motorcycle helmet laws are easy to follow as there is only one. Mississippi Code 63-7-64 states that all operators and riders of motorcycles on public roads or highways are required to wear a helmet that complies with the minimum guidelines established by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) per Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) No. 218.

This means that every person, no matter their age, who drives or is a passenger on a motorcycle must wear a helmet that meets the previously mentioned standard.

While the NHTSA itself does not test or approve helmets available to consumers, instead relying on self-certification, it does provide an online database for consumers to search for unsafe or recalled helmets.

How To Know If Your Helmet Complies with the Law

Now, you may wonder how you can tell if your helmet complies with the federal requirements.

Every helmet that has passed the rigorous testing process and is certified by the NHTSA is affixed on the back with an official DOT label. That label states the following wording and information:

  • Manufacturer and/or brand
  • Model designation
  • DOT
  • FMVSS N. 218

Labels on certified helmets made before May 13, 2013, may simply read DOT. However, if your helmet does not have this label or a variation of it, then it is likely that your helmet is not certified. It may not only be unsafe for use but also result in you being fined for having a helmet that does not comply with the law.

Choosing the Right Motorcycle Helmet

Alongside the federal guidelines that the NHTSA put forth for helmets, there are some tips for motorcycle drivers and riders to ensure they find the best fit. Every person’s head shape is different and it’s important for the safety of each individual that they find a helmet that is the right size and style for them.

The ultimate goal is to keep motorcyclists safe in the Magnolia State while also ensuring they uphold helmet laws. In this vein, the NHTSA provides some handy information for bike drivers and riders on how to identify unsafe motorcycle helmets.

What Happens If You Don’t Wear a Helmet?

As mentioned previously, anyone who does not wear a helmet while operating or riding a motorcycle in the state of Mississippi is breaking the law.

Mississippi Code 63-9-11 states that a person who violates road laws may be convicted of a misdemeanor unless the violation is declared to be a felony. If the conviction stands and it is the person’s first conviction, they shall be punished by a fine of no more than $100 or by imprisonment of no more than 10 days.

If the person continues to violate road laws, these fines and/or jail time increase with each subsequent violation.

All drivers of any type of vehicle must obey road laws and drive responsibly. Otherwise, they will be in violation and may suffer penalties, and they may also be involved in accidents that lead to severe injury.

According to data from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), there were 6,084 motorcycle fatalities in the United States in 2021, with 38 of those occurring on Mississippi roadways. Additionally, 60% of all fatally injured motorcycle drivers in the United States wore a helmet at the time of the crash, and 46% of their passengers were helmeted.

It’s clear that wearing a helmet doesn’t prevent severe injury or death in a motorcycle accident, but imagine how much greater those fatality numbers might be if fewer bikers wore their helmets.

Motorcycle Safety Saves Lives

Wearing the proper safety gear is essential when driving or riding on a motorcycle, and as you can see, it’s easy to follow the laws for helmet use. Motorcycles are smaller than other vehicles and are often much more difficult for other drivers to see until it’s too late.

Also, when an accident occurs with a motorcycle, injuries and damage are more severe as motorcycles offer little to no protection for the driver and passengers like larger vehicles do.

You can be the safest driver on the road, but even if you wear your helmet and drive responsibly, collisions still occur. But more often than not, accidents involving motorcycles are far more severe and deadly than accidents involving only other vehicles.

Our attorneys at Pittman, Roberts & Welsh, PLLC have experience with these deadly accidents and are ready to help if you or a loved one has been injured in a motorcycle collision.

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