Exploring the economics of motorcycle helmet laws - Implications for low and middle-income countries

Adnan A. Hyder, H. Waters, T. Phillips, J. Rehwinkel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


This paper reviews economic evaluations of motorcycle helmet interventions in preventing injuries. A comprehensive literature review focusing on the effectiveness of motorcycle helmet use, and on mandatory helmet laws and their enforcement was done. When helmet laws were lifted between 1976-80, 48 states within the USA experienced a cost of $342,047 per excess fatality of annual net savings. Helmet laws in the USA had a benefit-cost ratio of 1.33 to 5.07. Taiwan witnessed a 14% decline in motorcycle fatalities and a 22% reduction of head injury fatalities with the introduction of a helmet law. In Thailand, where 70-90% of all crashes involve motorcycle, after enforcement of a helmet law, helmet-use increased five-fold, the number of injured motorcyclists decreased by 33.5%, head injuries decreased by 41.4%, and deaths decreased by 20.8%. There is considerable evidence that mandatory helmet laws with enforcement alleviate the burden of traffic injuries greatly. For low and middle-income countries with high rates of motorcycle injuries, enforced, mandatory motorcycle helmet laws are potentially one of the most cost-effective interventions available.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)16-22
Number of pages7
JournalAsia-Pacific Journal of Public Health
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2007


  • Cost-benefit analysis
  • Economic evaluation
  • Motorcycle helmet laws
  • Road traffic injuries

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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