Calif. Slopes Lack Basic Safety Standard: Lawmaker

Violation would result in fines

Monday, Jan 18, 2010  |  Updated 3:39 PM PDT
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Calif. Slopes Lack Basic Safety Standard: Lawmaker

David Bienick/KCRA

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Children taking to the ski slopes of California would have to take a helmet along under a new proposed law.

Sen. Leland Yee introduced the bill, known as SB 880, last week. It would require children under 18 to don a helmet. If they don't, their parents would face a $25 fine.

"California's ski slopes are perhaps the last area of recreation where we do not have basic safety standards in place for children," Yee said in a prepared statement. "Despite repeated warnings from public health experts, professional athletes, and ski resorts, each winter brings news of hundreds of unnecessary tragedies for the failure to wear a helmet. With this legislation, we can significantly reduce instances of traumatic brain injury or death for such a vulnerable population."

The San Francisco Democrat said he drafted the bill after seeing a study that showed helmets can cut in half the risk of serious head injuries in children 15 and younger.

The California Ski Industry Association has pledged its support.

At least one lawmaker, however, is opposed. Republican Tom Harman told the Los Angeles Times the bill brings up the question of how far government should go in protecting people from themselves.

The bill is still weeks away from any discussion.

KCRA.com contributed to this report.

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