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news release

Contact: Dana Sullivan
RELEASE: November 15, 2001

Emergency Helmet Regulations Take Effect

Motor Vehicle Services Acting Director Lino F. Pereira today announced that new emergency regulations supporting New Jersey's helmet law are now in effect. The new regulations refer to the current U.S. Department of Transportation guidelines, rather than the old standard still in the state code.

The MVS action, endorsed by Acting Governor Donald DiFrancesco, was taken after a Monmouth County judge ruled that under the old regulations, the state's helmet law was unenforceable.

In Buist and Mackey vs. State of New Jersey, Superior Court Judge William P. Gilroy decided in favor of two people who were charged in Manasquan with wearing helmets that did not meet current standards. Judge Gilroy ordered that the state suspend enforcement of the helmet law until new regulations were adopted. Once the new regulations were adopted, he said, enforcement could resume.

Pereira explained that when the state's helmet law took effect in 1968, the regulations written at that time, rather than listing specifications, referred to standards set by the USA Standards Institute (now ANSI). Eventually, ANSI stopped setting the standards when the DOT set out its standards.

"Until now, MVS, law enforcement and the courts have assumed that the federal standard applied," Pereira said. "The judge in this case disagreed, so we're updating our regulations."

Emergency regulations require the governor's signature, and take effect immediately upon filing with the state Office of Administrative Law. Pereira said MVS will take the necessary steps to make the regulations permanent.

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