The Auto Channel
The Largest Independent Automotive Research Resource
The Largest Independent Automotive Research Resource
Official Website of the New Car Buyer

NHTSA Makes Preliminary Finding On NexL Motorcycle Helmets

Do Not Comply with Safety Standard

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has made an Initial Decision that NexL Sports Products’ “Beanie DOT Motorcycle Helmets” (model 02), made by NexL Sports Products (NexL) of Watsonville, CA, do not comply with Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) No. 218, "Motorcycle Helmets." The agency also announced that it has reason to believe that NexL has not provided an adequate remedy for the noncompliance previously found to exist in its model 01 helmets, which were recalled in 2002.

The Initial Decision follows an investigation that began in June 2002 after compliance testing at two laboratories revealed multiple failures of the NexL model 02 helmets. These helmets did not satisfy requirements for reducing impact forces, resisting penetration, staying on during a crash, and proper labeling. Other failures occurred in testing conducted this year. NexL has rejected the safety agency’s request to recall the model 02 helmets.

In March 2002, the company agreed to recall 17,483 model 01 helmets that failed to comply with FMVSS No. 218. NexL attempted to remedy more than 8,000 of those model 01 helmets by converting them to model 02 helmets. In addition, NexL has manufactured and sold over 27,000 model 02 helmets.

A public meeting will be held at 10 a.m. May 14, 2003, in Room 6332 of the USDOT’s Nassif Building at 400 Seventh St. SW, Washington, DC, at which interested persons may present information and arguments on the issues of whether the NexL model 02 helmets fail to comply with FMVSS No. 218 and whether NexL failed to provide an adequate remedy in the earlier recall.

The NHTSA Administrator will make the final decision on both issues. Persons who wish to speak at the meeting must contact Tilda Proctor at 202-366-4759 before the close of business on May 7, 2003. Persons who wish to file written comments should reference the investigation file number (File No. CI-218-020612) and submit them to Tilda Proctor in NHTSA Room 5321, 400 Seventh St. SW, Washington, DC 20590, preferably before the meeting. However, the agency will accept written submissions until May 28, 2003. Documents from the investigation file may be viewed and written comments also may be submitted electronically via the Internet at, docket number 14880.

The investigation file is available for public viewing on business days from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Technical Information Services (TIS) Reading Room, Room 5111 at NHTSA; written requests for copies may be submitted to TIS by fax (202-366-2833) or by email to

Further information may be found on NHTSA’s web site: