When you’re a new rider looking for a motorcycle helmet, you will undoubtedly come across the term ‘DOT Approved’. If you’re anything like me, you might be wondering ‘DOT approved helmet’ meaning what exactly?, and might feel slightly embarrassed that you need to ask someone for the answer.
Fortunately, we have internet these days, so you can quietly look for answers to anything online. In this article, we will take a look at what exactly ‘DOT‘ is and what ‘DOT Approved‘ means, and briefly explore what is involved in DOT Approval.
If you’re only looking for a quick answer, you will find it in the ‘key takeaways’ section below. However, if you want to delve even deeper, you should check out our article called ‘DOT Certification‘.
* DOT is an acronym for Department Of Transportation.
* DOT approved means that a helmet is certified and in compliance with the safety standard enforced by the Department Of Transportation.
* DOT approved helmets must have a DOT approved sticker on the back of the helmet.
* Beware of fake DOT approved stickers.
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DOT Approved Helmet Meaning?
DOT is an acronym for the ‘Department of Transportation’, and ‘DOT Approved’ refers to Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 218 (FMVSS 218) that motorcycle helmets must comply with to be legally sold in the United States.
The FMVSS 218 standard outlines the minimum levels of performance that helmets must meet to protect the rider’s head from serious injury during a crash.
The Department of Transportation conducts random compliance testing on various motorcycle helmets each year to ensure they meet the required safety standards. These tests include impact attenuation, penetration resistance, and retention system strength tests.
It is a requirement of FMVSS 218 for motorcycle helmets that pass the testing to be appropriately labelled with a DOT sticker or label, indicating that the helmet meets or exceeds the safety standards set by the Department.
The DOT Approved sticker must include the following:
- the manufacturer’s name or brand
- the model name/number
- the word ‘DOT’ centered horizontally
- FMVSS No.218
- the word ‘Certified’
DOT Approval is the minimum and only legally required safety standard for motorcycle helmets in the United States. However, it’s worth noting that it’s not the only motorcycle helmet certification available. The Snell Certification, offered by the Snell Memorial Foundation, is said to be more rigorous and potentially provide a much safer helmet.
What Makes A Helmet DOT Approved?
A helmet is DOT approved when it passes the FMVSS 218 safety standard testing set by the United States Department of Transportation. These safety standards involve a series of tests that evaluate the helmet’s impact absorption, retention system, shell integrity, and resistance to penetration.
The criteria that a helmet must meet to be DOT approved can be summarized as follows:
Impact attenuation: The helmet is dropped from a height specified in the FMVSS 218 standard onto a flat anvil and a round anvil. The helmet must be able to absorb a certain amount of impact energy during a crash to protect the rider’s head.
Penetration resistance: The helmet’s outer shell must be able to withstand penetration by a sharp object without allowing it to reach the rider’s head.
Retention Strap strength: The chin strap and its attachment points must be able to withstand a certain amount of force to ensure that the helmet stays securely on the rider’s head during a crash.
Field of vision: The helmet must provide a pre-defined peripheral field of vision for the rider.
Labeling: The helmet must be labeled with the DOT approved sticker.
How Do I Know If My Helmet Is DOT Approved?
To ensure that the DOT Approved sticker on a helmet is legitimate, you have several options available:
Purchase your helmet from a reputable motorcycle accessory dealer like Revzilla or CycleGear. Established businesses with good reputations are unlikely to sell fake helmets or fake DOT stickers, as it would harm their reputation.
If you are purchasing a helmet from a private seller or at a small market, be wary of prices that seem too good to be true – they probably are.
Familiarize yourself with the appearance of a genuine DOT Approved sticker. There are many counterfeit DOT stickers available online, and they usually do not resemble the real ones.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration offers a helpful brochure titled ‘How To Identify Unsafe Motorcycle Helmets‘ which you can download as a PDF.
Check the manufacturer’s website for the helmet model and size of helmet you are considering purchasing to see what certifications it has been tested and approved for.
There is an online database that you can use to check if your helmet passed or failed testing. You will find the link and instructions on how to search the database at the end of our article on DOT Certification.
In summary, DOT Approved refers to the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 218 (FMVSS 218), which outlines the minimum levels of performance that helmets must meet to protect the rider’s head and brain in the event of a crash.
The Department of Transportation conducts random compliance testing on various motorcycle helmets each year to ensure they meet the required safety standards, and helmets that pass the testing are appropriately labelled with a DOT approved sticker.
To ensure that the DOT Approved sticker on your helmet is legitimate, it is recommended to purchase your helmet from a reputable motorcycle accessory dealer, familiarize yourself with the appearance of a genuine DOT Approved sticker, and check the manufacturer’s website for the helmet model and size of helmet you are considering purchasing to see what certifications it has been tested and approved for.
I hope we have answered the question of ‘DOT Approved Helmet Meaning’ to your satisfaction. If you enjoyed this article, take a look at the related reads below for some more interesting reads!