Dr. Andy

Reflections on medicine and biology among other things

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Helmet laws and faulty reasoning

A National Highway Traffic Safety Administration study shows that motorcyclist deaths increased when mandatory helmet laws were repealed in Florida. So what is the response of groups who oppose such laws:

Charles Umbenhauer, a lobbyist for ABATE, or American Bikers Aiming Toward Education, which fought to make helmet-free riding legal here, said the Florida report doesn't add anything new to the debate. There are risks to motorcycle riding, so it's not surprising that people die while doing it, he said.

What is surprising, at least to Umbenhauer, is that physicians and hospital groups often trot out financial information to argue for laws that require helmet use. Citing a July report from the Pennsylvania Health Care Cost Containment Council, Umbenhauer noted that hospital-acquired infections are likely a much bigger source of costs, sickness and death.

What a stupid argument. I'm sure smoking causes more deaths than asthma, but does that mean we shouldn't treat asthma?


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