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					Snell & Helmet
   Daniel Thomas, M.D.
CT Rider Education Program
     February 7, 2009
Helmet Testing
Impact Test Rig
       What Snell Means?
Snell History

Snell Standards

Snell Testing

Snell Certification
Pete Snell
Snell Fatal Cash
Snell Fatal Crash
Snell Fatal Crash
Snell Fatal Crash
           Why Standards?
Impact Protection is invisible
   No good way to gauge it directly
   ...or to complain about disappointment later
But Standards may allow riders to gauge
impact protection indirectly
   Standards presume a tremendous number of
    reasonably identical units
   Call out tests for representative samples
   Assume similar performance for the rest
           Standards Positives
They provide crucial information
   About important functions
      Example: What will my helmet do for me in a crash
   That can’t be determined on the spot
      Impact protection is invisible
          Sometimes you can tell when it isn’t there
          But you can’t tell for sure that it is there
        Standards Negatives
You’re taking someone’s word
   That the helmet actually meets the standard
      The tests were done on selected samples
      This helmet is identical to the ones tested
   That the standard has something to do with
    head protection
Standards apply only to new helmets
   Routine use, crash damage, user mods etc
    may change everything
        Two Standards Types
Mandatory - Issued by governments
   Set minimums for all with the force of law
   Public Safety
   Regulation of Public Affairs; i.e.: traffic, commerce
Voluntary – Issued by Anybody
   Sometimes public safety but also other reasons
   Demonstrate product capabilities
       Superior capabilities and/or
       More plausible demonstrations
   Depends on Market Forces
               Two Standards
   Mandatory
   Self-certified
       Manufacturers arrange “reasonable” testing
       Claim DOT certification for their own products
Snell M2005
   Voluntary
   Snell certified
       Snell does pre-market and in-market testing
       Manufacturers are bound by contract
         Snell Standards

Most stringent

Updated every 5 years
                 Why DOT?
Manufacturers’ Reasons
   Mandatory
   Vulnerability
      Liability Lawsuits
      Product recalls
Riders’ Reasons
   It’s difficult to find a good helmet without it
           Additional Wrinkle
Standards Programs
   Standards are basically documents
   Programs are the means by which standards
    are applied
   Third party test programs
      Snell, UL
   Self-certification
           Snell Testing
Standards = Documents

Experience and equipment

Objective and reliable (A2LA)
          Why Snell M2005
Riders’ Reasons
   Demonstrates superior capabilities
      Helmets tested at higher severities
      DOT says that Snell indicates a helmet complies
      with DOT
      Snell says the helmet does even better
   More Plausible Demonstration
      Snell does initial pre-market testing
      And in-market enforcement testing afterwards
          M2005 & Riders #2
More Plausible Demonstration (continued)
   Snell is Independent
      No government influence
      No manufacturer influence
   Snell is not-for-profit
      501C(3 ) Corporation (testing for public safety)
   Snell is technically competent
      Expert board of directors
      Experienced staff
   +50 year track record
      For Manufacturers
Improved Market Appeal
 Many riders look for Snell
 Dealers & Distributors want to sell

  to them
Snell Motorcycle Helmet Standards

Increased impact protection area

Comparison of M2000 and M2005

New M2010 products in Oct. 2009
M2005 Test Line
Impact Test
         Snell Certification
Certification testing
  - Gate keeping

Random sample testing
  - Continuing enforcement
Snell Stickers
We Don’t Make Helmets.
 We Make Them Safer.
Impact Test
Strap-Retention Test
Penetration Test
Shock Attenuation (Peak G’s etc.)
   Mostly set by mandatory standards
   Here in the US that’s DOT
   More shock attenuation possible
      requires bigger, heavier helmets
Impact Management (hit magnitude limits)
   Mandatory minimums
   Snell sets higher, premium levels
M2010 - Why New Standard?
Encourage More Protective Helmets
 - European riders have no access to more protective
   helmet due to technical incompatibility.
New Scientific & Medical Findings
 - Dr. Ching’s finding
New Materials & Technology
 - Stiffer shell and softer liner
    Snell – DOT – ECE 22-05
Differences depend on helmet size
   Medium sizes
   Small sizes: XS, S, 54 cm to 57 cm
   Largest sizes: XXXL, 62 cm
   Stiffness – liner property: stiffer → more G’s
       Less stiff → less G’s and bigger, heavier helmets
   Severity – how big are the test impacts
       More severe → bigger hits and bigger, heavier helmets
Damaged Foam
M2005 vs M2010 for US Riders

Possibly identical in design and
manufacturing for sizes medium and larger

Softer liner in sizes small and extra small
            Beyond Standards
There’s more to helmets than standards
   Fit Quality
   Comfort
      Ventilation, Noise, Ease of Use etc.
   Looks
   Cost
Snell claims no special knowledge of
these and neither does DOT
   Riders can tell us better than we can tell them
       The Helmet Took Some
   Dropping an empty helmet is not likely to
    affect protective performance
   But there may be some cosmetic scars as a
   If a helmet with a head inside takes a solid
    thump, protective capability may be degraded
   But there may be few or no outward signs
Scuffed Paint
       Damaged Helmets
Scuffed Paint

Cracked Shell

Damaged Foam
       Cosmetic Damage
Minor Scratches
“Freckles” across the brow and chin bar,
especially open car and motorcycle use
            Impact Damage
On the Shell
   Broad patterns of parallel scratches
   Broad patterns of fine cracks in the paint
      Radial and/or Concentric
   Splits and/or discontinuities in the shell
   Delamination
In the Impact Liner (EPS)
   Dents and depressions
   Areas of “Sponginess”
Impact On Shell
Cracked Shell
Some shells don’t show damage
   “oil-canning”
   Hidden delamination
Most liner damage may be hidden
between the inner surface of the shell and
the outer surface of the liner
Damaged Foam
      The Helmet Got Old
Snell recommends owners routinely
replace headgear after no more than 5
years of use.
We also urge that rulebooks allow the
current and immediately previous Snell
The manufacture date label may not be a
fair way to judge helmet age.
Snell is the only program that requires pre-
market certification testing for gate-
keeping and in-market random sample
testing for compliance.
Snell certified helmets can handle higher
impact energy.
Snell updates standards to make the best
head protection available to all riders
Helmet Lists – Brand, Model, Size
HeadsUp Newsletters
General Information
Links to Manufacturers, Distributors, etc.
           Last Words
We have no direct indicators of helmet
protective capability
We can look for indirect indicators
(e.g.:Snell/DOT stickers)
There are reasonably foreseeable crashes
that will exceed a helmet’s protective
In serious crashes riders need all the
impact management capability a helmet
can offer.
But please wear it correctly.

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