With the snow and holiday season upon us, many vacationers will be heading out to the New Jersey ski slopes. Yet skiing also will mean an increase in personal injuries including concussions suffered by individuals falling down and striking their heads. It was in response to the likelihood of this type of injury occurring that New Jersey has implemented a mandatory ski helmet law requiring juveniles to wear such helmets while skiing or snowboarding this winter.
The New Jersey law is the first of its kind implemented in the country. Any individual 17 or under on the ski slopes will be required to wear such a helmet. Such helmets are sold at a minimum of $55. Rental of the helmets will be at around $10 a piece. Parents of juveniles not wearing the helmets will be fined $25 for the first violation, and $100 for any subsequent violations.
Ski areas and resorts have upped their supply of helmets in recent years in anticipation that the law would be passed. They’ve also been promoting the new requirements in order to make certain out-of-state skiers are aware of the requirement. Such ski resorts have implemented such requirements for safety reasons, but also in anticipation that they may be held liable for injuries if juveniles on their ski slopes have not complied with the new law.
One obvious shortcoming of the law is that it will like be difficult to enforce by local authorities. The police will have other priorities besides enforcing such a rule. What this means is that holding ski resorts liable for injuries that occur when the law is not obeyed may be the most effective means of making certain that the law is complied with.
Source: lehighvalleylive.com, “New Jersey ski helmet law takes effect this season,” by Phillip Molnar, Dec. 12, 2011