Take a stand, Abolish Lid Laws

 

 

For helmet law statutes by state click here

 

 

   STATUTE:

Title 55. Motor and Other Vehicles. Chapter 9. Equipment -- Lighting Regulations. Part 3--Required Equipment on Motorcycles and Motor Driven Cycles. Section 55-9-302. Crash Helmet Required For Driver and Passenger. :

   FINE:

" 55-9-306. Violation of this part - Penalty.- A violation of this part is a Class C misdemeanor.[Acts 1967, ch.45,ss(TCA (supp), ss 50-947; T.C.A., ss 59-938; Acts 1989, ch. 591, ss 113.]
Cross References. Penalty for Class C misdemeanor, ss 40-35-111 "

This prescribed penalty seems to be for non-moving violations such as seat, windshield, mirror, footrests ect. requirements including helmets. Anyway, its UP TO a $50.00 fine AND 30 days in jail.)

   STANDARDS:

Title 55. Motor and Other Vehicles. Chapter 9. Equipment -- Lighting Regulations. Part 3--Required Equipment on Motorcycles and Motor Driven Cycles. Section 55-9-302. Crash Helmet Required For Driver and Passenger. :

NOTE: We are in the process of obtaining the standards adopted by the   commissioner of safety for determining what constitutes a "crash helmet" within the   State of Tennessee. When we have the criteria for "approval", you will find it here.

   COURT DECISIONS:

"This section is not an invalid exercise of the state police power, since the police power may be exercised by the enactment of prohibitory or restrictive measures directed to the end of fostering the public welfare by securing the safety of an individual as a class member." Arutanoff v. Metropolitan Gov't, 223 Tenn. 535, 448 S.W.2d 408 (1969).

"This section does not unconstitutionally invade the right of privacy because the regulated right is not one exercised in private where it cannot affect the public." Arutanoff v. Metropolitan Gov't, 223 Tenn. 535, 448 S.W.2d 408 (1969).

"This section is not void as an unreasonable classification in violation of the equal protection clause of the United States Constitution or Tenn. Const., art. XI, Section 8." Arutanoff v. Metropolitan Gov't, 223 Tenn. 535, 448 S.W.2d 408 (1969).

"This section does not violate the due process clause of the U.S. Const., amend. 14 or the law of the Land Section of the Tenn. Const., art. I, s 8, by failing to set legislative standards for the design of the helmet to be worn, since the legislative designation of the helmet as a "crash helmet" is adequate notice of the legislative intention that the helmet must be headgear designed to increase materially the safety factor in case of a crash." Arutanoff v. Metropolitan Gov't, 223 Tenn. 535, 448 S.W.2d 408 (1969).

The first three of these may still hold today, but rest assured that the standards    demanded by Federal Courts would not tolerate the acceptance of the definition of "crash helmet" to be so broad as "headgear designed to increase materially the safety factor in case of a crash". The battle to prove "what's safe?" would be more than enough to take this one out!

   COMMENTARY:

From our beginning in 1993, it has been the position of the Helmet Law Defense League that all helmet laws are unconstitutional , in the absence of clear guidelines on how to comply with the statute -- like with a list of "approved helmets."

NO LIST? NO LAW!

If a state, any state, cannot answer the question:

"How can a motorcyclist comply,
with certainty ,
with the provisions of the helmet law?"

that state's statute(s) requiring the wearing of
a "helmet," "safety helmet," or "protective headgear"
is unconstitutionally vague.

Although the Tennessee Legislature may believe that they can authorize the "commissioner of safety" to approve or disapprove helmets, the commissioner of safety is confined, by law, to adopting only those standards established by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

If the commissioner of safety has exceeded his authority and adopted anything other than Federal Motor Vehicle Standard (FMVSS) 218, the Tennessee helmet law can be successfully challenged on that basis alone, and removed. (see Juvenile Products v. Edmisten, 568 F.Supp. 714 (1983))

If the commissioner of safety has adopted FMVSS 218, which the law insists that he ultimately must, the Tennessee helmet law is thereby rendered unconstitutionally vague and can be challenged on that basis, and removed. (see Washington v. Maxwell , 74 WASH.APP. 688, 878 P.2D 1220 (1994))

We believe that if you will write to the "Secretary of the Transportation Cabinet" for Tennessee and ask for the list -- tell them you are attempting to determine how to comply with the helmet law, "with certainty" -- someone can take whatever answer (or, more likely, a refusal to answer) to the courts, and Tennessee bikers will be 100% FREE of the helmet law!

   HISTORY:

The Helmet Law Defense League is looking for a volunteer from Tennessee who knows the history of the helmet law in Tennessee (going back at least 15 years) to write that history down in article form and get it to us so we can post it here.

   CURRENT ACTIVITY:

If you know of any current activity regarding efforts to remove or otherwise amend Tennessee's helmet law, in the Legislature or the Courts, please
e-mail that information to us so we can update this site. Thanks.

    TENNESSEE LINKS


Last updated: April, 1997
Copyright 1996 HLDL. All Rights Reserved.
Webmaster: quig

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