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May 2, 2000

The Quarterly Newsletter of the Snell Memorial Foundation

This is the twenty-sixth of the Foundation's quarterly newsletters to the helmet manufacturing industry. The twenty-fifth was sent out last February. Comments and items for inclusion in subsequent issues are invited.

In This Issue

  1. Manufacturers Meeting
  2. M2000/SA2000 Booklets
  3. M2000/SA2000 Label Release
  4. HANS® Restraint System
  5. B-95 Standard To Continue
  6. Manufacturer Visits
  7. DOT Revisions Update
  8. E-Mail Test Results For Manufacturers
  9. Pretest Information Forms
  10. Snell Safety Education Center
  11. New Motorcycle Helmet Brochure
  12. Who To Contact

Manufacturers' Meeting

The last Snell Certified Manufacturers' meeting was held February 18, 2000, in Indianapolis in conjunction with the PowerSports Expo.

Dr. Fenner, the president of the Foundation's board of directors, opened the meeting. Randy McCarty and Ed Becker, from the Foundation's office in California, were also present.

The meeting was well attended. The principal topic of interest was the policy for introducing the M2000 and SA2000 Standards. The discussion was lively at times but the attendees arrived at a clear and simple set of recommendations which, it is hoped will ease the transition.

M2000/SA2000 Booklets

The M2000 Standard booklets have just been printed and the SA2000 booklets are expected momentarily. We will mail out copies to interested parties sometime this month. Additional copies are available on request.

The M2000 and SA2000 Standards are also available on the web site

M2000/SA2000 Label Release

The recommendations that emerged from the manufacturers meeting and adopted by the Foundation are as follows:

The Foundation will begin shipping M2000 and SA2000 certification labels on June 30, 2000. However, manufacturers must not allow M2000 and SA2000 labeled headgear to reach distributors or retailers before October 1, 2000.

Manufacturers requesting shipments of M2000 and SA2000 certification labels before the end of September, 2000, will be asked to pledge that their M2000 and SA2000 helmets will not arrive at their distributors and retailers before October 1, 2000.

Shipments of M-95 and SA-95 certification labels will stop at the end of September. Manufacturers who wish, may continue M-95 and SA-95 labeled production until the end of March, 2001.

HANS® System

Dr. Robert Hubbard and his colleagues have been developing and refining a device that may reduce neck stresses in auto racing crashes. This device essentially tethers the helmet to the wearer's upper body. The intent is that inertial loading of the helmet in crash decelerations are born by the tethers rather than the driver's neck.

Dr. Hubbard and his colleagues have performed crash testing involving helmeted anthropometric dummies with and without the HANS® system. The results show benefits for the tested crash configurations.

The Foundation has been asked to consider the effects of the modifications this system requires for the headgear. HANS® requires two slots be cut into the helmet shell to anchor the helmet tethers. These slots are located well away from area of the headgear subject to Snell certification test impacts. However, even though it is unlikely, it is still possible that adding these slots might cause a model to be rejected for certification. Manufacturers of Snell SA certified headgear who wish to add these slots to existing helmet configurations should contact this office. We will review each model in order to determine what additional testing, if any, may be necessary to extend the Snell certification to include the slotted configuration.

B-95 Standards to Continue

The Foundation's directors have reviewed the current status of bicycle helmets and have decided to continue the current B-95 programs. Plans to issue a B2000 standard have been tabled. The directors may revisit this matter but, for the foreseeable future, B-95 will remain the Foundation's most stringent bicycle helmet standard and program.

B-95 had been revised in the last two years to simplify compliance with the Consumer Product Safety Commission Bicycle Helmet Safety Standard. B-95 now specifies requirements for two classes of bicycle helmet: those for persons age 5 and older (B95A) and those for younger children and toddlers (B95C). Certification in either of these B-95 programs demonstrates compliance with the corresponding CPSC classification.

The Foundation and the industry have just finished consolidating these revisions and requalifying existing headgear. Given the magnitude of this effort and the significant advance that B-95 represents over other helmet standards, the directors concluded that no substantial changes are justified at this time.

Manufacturer Visits

We encourage all manufacturers to visit the laboratory and to observe their products being tested. The test techs will administer the same tests and obtain the same results but they will endeavor to explain and to demonstrate Snell procedures and also to discuss test results.

We will do our best to discuss any aspect of the test results and their implications but, please remember, our expertise is confined to Snell type test procedures and equipment. Any opinion we may offer concerning helmet materials and design is personal conjecture and may not have the support of either the Foundation or our colleagues.

We believe the real value of these visits is a deeper understanding of our methods and equipment than might be had from our Standards booklets. Armed with this deeper understanding, manufacturers will be better able to develop helmets to our Standards and to maintain helmet quality throughout production.

Under the auspices of the Snell Safety Education Center, we also conduct tours of our facility for schools and community organizations. These tours generally consist of a discussion of the Foundation and its programs and then a demonstration of testing on anonymous helmet samples.

DOT Revision
The "Notice of Proposed Rule Making" introducing revisions to Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 218 is still expected sometime this year. FMVSS 218, also known as the DOT motorcycle helmet standard, has set the minimum adequate requirements for US street motorcycle helmets since the early 1970's. Except for a few procedural refinements, this standard is essentially the same as it was when it was first adapted from its ANSI Z90.1-1971 predecessor.

When the notice appears in the Federal Register, it will invite comments on the draft rule making from interested parties. These comments will be reviewed and considered in the formulation of a Final Rule which might appear by the end of 2000 and take effect in 2001.

We will attempt to monitor developments in this matter through notices posted on the DOT, Federal Record and Commerce Business Daily web sites.

Snell Test Results by e-mail

Although our test reports generally go out by regular mail, Gib Brown, the lab manager here at the Foundations' California laboratory, has routinely FAX'ed copies of test reports to interested manufacturers, often within an hour of completing the testing. However, since complete reports for a single set of certification test results may comprise ten sheets of paper, the FAX'ing operation is slow, expensive and uncertain. For this reason, we plan in the future to provide advance copies of test reports by e-mail.

These e-mail reports will consist of a short message with an attached file containing the test reports in PDF format. Adobe® software, available from will allow recipients to open, review and print out the test forms. This method provides such an accurate reproduction that the printed output will be almost indistinguishable from the signed reports we send by regular mail.

The files will be protected by passwords in order to prevent unauthorized access or modification. In the interests of security, manufacturers are invited to select their own passwords and to change them as frequently as they consider necessary. Please notify us of your selections by telephone or FAX.

Pretest Information Forms

When submitting helmet samples for testing, it is essential that a properly filled in 'pretest information form' accompany them. We receive a lot of helmets from a lot of manufacturers. Without some guidance, we may not know model name, size, manufacturer or the type of testing necessary.

Samples that arrive without documentation are likely to sit unprocessed. A telephone call in advance of shipping is welcome but please do not rely on the fragile memories of our office staff. The surest way to obtain proper and timely test results is to provide paperwork with all the necessary information with the shipment. When the samples arrive with the proper documents, proper receiving, logging, labeling scheduling and testing is virtually assured.

Blank forms and instructions for filling them out are available. Manufacturers are invited to modify and adapt them as necessary. The only essential is that we have sufficient information to perform and document the requested testing.

In particular, please double check the spelling of the model name, include all the sizes for which the helmet structure is intended, indicate the standard and test type and, finally the disposition of the tested samples. Although we recommend that manufacturers examine all failed samples in order to determine how best to improve their headgear, unless there is a specific request to return failed samples, they are routinely destroyed.

Snell Safety Education Center

The Snell Safety Education Center (SSEC) has taken on all the tasks associated with preparation and distribution of videos, posters, brochures and similar materials promoting the correct selection and use of appropriate protective headgear. These functions have always been seen as a necessary part of the Foundation's overall mission but, in recent years, had created a considerable strain on our structure and resources.

SSEC, by virtue of its flexibility and charter, has the capabilities to perform these functions and to cooperate closely with other organizations of similar interests. Currently, the Center is working with the University of California, Davis, in a program promoting child safety across a broad front in the Sacramento area.

The Center is organized under Federal 501C3 regulations and is separate and distinct from the Foundation. The Center's president, Ms. Hong Zhang, welcomes inquiries and requests for assistance from community and national safety organizations.

New M2000 Brochure

The Safety Education Center has prepared a new informational brochure explaining the benefits and workings of motorcycle helmets. The brochures are intended for use in Motorcycle Safety courses and as point of sales materials at motorcycle accessory outlets.

The brochure consists of four color pages on quality stock about 8.25 inches square. It may be ordered through the website Snell Safety Education Center

Who to Contact at Snell

Snell Memorial Foundation, Inc.

3628 Madison Avenue, Suite 11

North Highlands, CA 95660

Phone: 916-331-5073; Fax: 916-331-0359;

Email: ------ General Information -

Internet: ---- Steve Johnson ------

Testing: ----- Gib Brown ---------

Randy McCarty --
James Barnes ----
Edward Hunter ---
Decals: ----- Bonnie Adams ------

Education: -- Hong Zhang --------

Admin: ------ Steve Johnson -----

All Other: --- Ed Becker ---------

Editor: Edward Becker, Executive Director

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