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Senate considers helmet legislation



Sen. Christopher Dodd, D-Conn., has introduced legislation which would provide grants to promote wearing helmets and also establish a quality standard for the manufacturing of all equestrian helmets, the American Horse Council reports.

The legislation is known as the Christen O’Donnell Equestrian Helmet Safety Act of 2004 and is named after his constituent Christen O’Donnell, who was thrown off of her horse while riding in a ring. Although she was wearing a helmet and landed in four inches of sand, her injuries were fatal.

“Sen. Dodd introduced similar legislation about two years ago,” said Jay Hickey, president of the AHC, who was quoted in the recent AHC newsletter.

“It did not receive much attention at the time, but by reintroducing this bill you can see that this is an issue that Sen. Dodd takes very seriously.”

The legislation would authorize the federal government to award grants for activities that encourage individuals to wear approved equestrian helmets. The grants could be used for educational purposes or even to provide assistance to riders who may not be able to afford approved equestrian helmets.

The legislation also develops a safety standard for equestrian helmets. Should this legislation be passed and signed into law, the Consumer Product Safety Commission would have to begin the process of developing a federal standard for a safe, equestrian helmet in 60 days. Until the final standard is complete, the legislation establishes an interim safety standard. All new helmets that are manufactured and sold would have nine months after this bill becomes law to meet the interim safety standard.

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