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Massachusetts Personal Injury NewsDecember 8, 2004

New Massachusetts law hopes to reduce brain injuries

A new Massachusetts state law makes it illegal for anyone with a valid driver's license or learner's permit to drive motorized scooters or a motorized bicycle. Any violators can be subject to fines and can even be arrested. In addition, helmets are now required for anyone on a motorized scooter or bicycle and anyone 16 years or under on a regulator bicycle, in-line skates, scooter or skateboard.

The prevention program director for the Massachusetts Brain Injury Association, Rosalie Berquist, said she welcomes the new helmet law, which used to only include children on bicycles 12 years or younger. The motorized scooters have become popular among youngsters who are too young to drive, and they have had a negative impact on public safety, according to officials.

Officials say if police find children riding without their helmets they will talk to the child's parents to make sure they are aware of the new law. Berquist also pointed out the importance of helmets for adults, especially considering the majority of people killed in bicycle crashes are adults.

A traumatic brain injury survivor must endure devastating hardships, which the use of a helmet could have easily prevented. The use of helmets can prevent 75 percent of bicycle fatalities among children, and up to 88 percent of critical head and brain injuries can be prevented through use of a bicycle helmet. In addition, universal bicycle helmet use by children ages four to 15 can prevent up to 45,000 head injuries and 55,000 scalp and face injuries annually.

Despite the extremely high incidence of head and brain injuries every year, very little public awareness of the serious conditions are still known. The Massachusetts law hopes to also bring more awareness of the dangers of head and brain injuries and ways to prevent them.

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