California Helmet Law Violations are "Fix-it" Tickets

A judge in Santa Cruz, California ruled that police citations for not wearing a helmet are actually "fix-it" tickets because they...

A judge in Santa Cruz, California ruled that police citations for not wearing a helmet are actually "fix-it" tickets because they are correctable violations. However, California Highway Patrol officers are saying that they don't agree with this and don't plan to sign-off on these tickets.

This all started with with a biker named Richard Quigley, who was cited nine separate times for not wearing a helmet. Thus far, Quigley has refused to pay the tickets, claiming that the law hasn't been clear enough as to what is an "acceptable helmet".

The problem is that California law doesn't provide specifics on what a motorcycle helmet should do. It simply requires that it have a certification sticker on it.
Prosecutor Brock says state law refers to federal guidelines that don't specify helmet attributes, but outline tests for manufacturers who can self-certify their helmets passed the tests. They include whether the head gear depresses when struck with a metal anvil, which a cap obviously would not.

Federal officials set specifications for manufacturers and do "spot checks" to ensure compliance, said Rae Tyson of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. He admits police complain of trouble proving noncompliance due to fake stickers and says they are working on new labels.

Quigley also maintains that the district attorney is "more interested in a win" than fixing the problem. He says they should admit the law is unclear and ask the attorney general for clarification.

Yet Quigley does not believe the government should tell him what to wear, and he has been fighting the state's helmet law for years.
Gretchen Brock, who prosecuted Quigley, questions how Quigley is supposed to "fix something that wasn't on his head six months ago". Nonetheless, the judge, Michael Barton, has given Quigley a March 11 deadline to get signatures on his tickets.

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