To protect children from dangerous head injuries California’s state senate has placed a bill on Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s desk that would require all skiers and snowboarders under age 18 to wear helmets on the slopes.
The bill, SB880, passed by a bipartisan vote of 21-11 in the state senate. It was authored by state Senator Leland Yee (D-San Francisco). If signed into law, it will impose a $25 fine on parents any time their children ski or snowboard without a helmet. This is the same fine imposed on parents of children who ride bicycles without helmets in the state.
The ski helmet law also will require ski resorts to post signs about the law on slopes, in trail maps and on websites, according to a KCRA News report.
The legislation was inspired in part by statistics on children hurt in skiing and snowboarding accidents, said Yee’s spokesperson Adam Keigwin. Keigwin told CBS Channel 5 News that the California Psychological Association approached Yee with several studies that showed thousands of traumatic brain injuries per year.
“Helmets would severely decrease that number,” Keigwin said. ”Senator Yee, as a child psychologist, understands brain development and how malleable the child brain is,” Keigwin said.
“California’s ski slopes are perhaps the last area of recreation where we do not have basic safety standards in place for children,” said Yee. “Despite repeated warnings from public health experts, professional athletes, and ski resorts, each winter brings news of hundreds of unnecessary tragedies for the failure to wear a helmet. With this legislative package, we can significantly reduce instances of traumatic brain injury or death for such a vulnerable population.”
To further address snow sport safety, Yee teamed up with Assemblyman Dave Jones (D-Sacramento), who authored an assembly bill — AB 1652 — that would require ski resorts to develop and publish safety plans as well as submit a report to California’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (Cal/OSHA) after any fatality at the resort. AB 1652 was approved by the Assembly on a 51-22 bipartisan vote and is headed for the Governor’s desk.
The trial attorneys at Blackman Legal Group, a California-based law firm founded by renowned trial attorney Clifford Blackman, have been representing injury victims since 1976, and have special expertise in cases involving traumatic brain injury. The nationwide toll-free number to call for a free consultation is 1-866-692-8126.