The Snell Motorcycle Helmet Standards

If you’re a motorcyclist in Iowa, purchasing a helmet that fits well and is certified to protect your head in the event of a motorcycle accident is one of the most important safety precautions that you can take.

When helmet shopping, you will notice that there are two different types of certification: Snell Memorial Foundation vs. the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT). The following article reviews the differences between the two, and the Snell motorcycle helmet standards in particular.

The Difference Between Snell vs. DOT

There are two organizations that handle issuing helmet certifications in the U.S., both of which are considered safe and sound choices for motorcyclists.

The standard that the DOT uses to certify helmets is the minimum standard, and is defined by FMVSS: the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 218. While there is nothing wrong with this rule, the Snell standards are much more comprehensive. While all Snell-certified helmet meet DOT standards, not all DOT-certified helmets would meet Snell standards.

Snell Memorial Foundation’s Motorcycle Helmet Standards

According to the Snell Memorial Foundation’s website, the organization—which is a non-profit that’s primary goal is to test and develop the safety helmets—considers its standards as “the world’s toughest.” The site also states that it “demands quite a bit more protective capability in helmets than anybody else on the planet.”

The four major components that the Snell Memorial Foundation assesses when certifying a helmet are the following listed.

  • Impact management
  • Helmet positional stability
  • Retention system strength
  • Extent of protection

Which should I choose: Snell or DOT?

Both Snell-certified and DOT-certified helmets are good choices for motorcyclists. However, if you want extra assurance that your head will be protected, a Snell-certified helmet is an excellent option. Always make sure that you try your helmet on before purchasing. Purchasing a helmet that doesn’t fit properly would be like putting on a seat belt in a car that doesn't fit tightly across your body. Replace a motorcycle helmet after any accident.

What do I do if I’m in an accident?

If you’re in a motorcycle accident and you’re not wearing a helmet, you are still eligible to recover damages assuming that the accident and your injuries were not attributable to your own negligence.

To help you understand things like fault, negligence, and how not wearing a helmet may affect your claim, check out our motorcycle accidents blog. To learn more about the motorcycle accident in Iowa, call the attorneys at Walker, Billingsley & Bair today. You can reach us at 888-435-9886.

Corey Walker
With 19 years legal experience, Corey has been recognized for his work as an injury attorney.