A new bill can change numerous parts of the traffic code if signed by the Missouri governor. One of the most important changes would allow most motorcyclists to ride without a helmet. Another important change would reduce the number of times that vehicles in Missouri have to be inspected.
Senate Bill 147 Changes Traffic Code
Senate Bill 147, which was passed on the last day of the session in the Missouri Legislature, heads to Governor Mike Parson. The bill includes several interesting provisions, including one that would allow drivers to turn left at a red light, if the street they are merging onto is a one-way road.
Among the most important changes to the traffic code, though, are provisions that change the mandatory rule requiring motorcyclists to wear helmets, and the guidelines for inspecting vehicles in Missouri.
Bill Lets Many Motorcyclists Ride Without a Helmet
The most controversial aspect of Senate Bill 147 is the one that allows motorcyclists to ride without a helmet, so long as they have adequate health insurance. Riders who are under 18 or who are driving a motorcycle under a learner’s permit are still required to wear a helmet.
Needless to say, if passed, the bill would lead to far more serious head injuries for motorcyclists who decide not to wear helmets. It would also likely contribute to an increase in the number of roadway fatalities in the state.
Supporters of the bill claim that SB 147 insulates the risk to motorcyclists who choose not to use a helmet by requiring them to have adequate health insurance before leaving their helmet at home. Their argument is that the only people who get hurt are those who have the means to pay for their own losses.
While this argument sounds like it would work, it fails to account for how insurance operates. If bikers can go helmetless if they have insurance, the costs of that insurance would go up for everyone to cover the costs the insurance company expects to incur when more helmetless bikers get seriously hurt.
Fewer Vehicle Inspections
Another provision in SB 147 cuts back on the number of vehicle inspections that are necessary for Missouri drivers.
Currently, vehicles are required to be inspected every other year, unless it has been fewer than five years since the vehicle was manufactured. SB 147 drastically cuts back on the number of inspections that are necessary for a car to be roadworthy. Under SB 147, vehicles do not need to be inspected for ten years after they are made, unless they have traveled more than 150,000 miles.
While they can be inconvenient, these inspections are designed to make sure a vehicle is in proper working order. They can detect safety defects and problems that need to be corrected to better protect the occupants in the vehicle and to prevent a crash. By allowing vehicles to go ten years or 150,000 miles before an inspection, a huge chunk of cars on the road will never have to be inspected, putting innocent drivers at risk.