LOS ANGELES : Helmet Law Cuts Motorcycle Deaths by 36%, Study Says

California motorcycle deaths dropped by more than one-third in 1992, the first year of the mandatory helmet law, authorities said Friday.

Serious head injuries also declined by more than half since the helmet requirement, said Jess Kraus, principal investigator in a UCLA School of Public Health study.

In 1992, 327 motorcyclists died in accidents, compared to 523 the previous year, a 36% drop. The law requiring helmets for all motorcycle riders went into effect Jan. 1, 1992.

"We believe the helmet law played a significant part in that reduction," said Steve Kohler, spokesman for the California Highway Patrol in Sacramento.

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