On May 1, 2014, Congressman Jim Himes (D-CT) introduced the Christen O’Donnell Equestrian Helmet Safety Act of 2013 (H. R. 4552). The bill would require the Consumer Product Safety Commission to establish standards for equestrian helmets. It does not mandate the use of helmets when riding horses.
The bill directs the Consumer Product Safety Commission to develop a final safety standard for all equestrian helmets and would appropriate $500,000 to develop the final standard. The final standard would take effect not later than one year after the date it is issued by the commission.
Until a final standard is issued, the bill would require all equestrian helmets manufactured after enactment to meet an interim standard defined as the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) standard designated as F 1163.
The failure of a manufacturer to comply with either the interim standard or final standard would be a violation of the Consumer Product Safety Act.
The bill does not mandate the use of helmets when riding or impose any requirements or restrictions on equestrian organizations. However, the bill would make new Congressional findings (Congressional opinion) regarding the safety of and injuries associated with equestrian activities that are troubling. The bill can be viewed at: http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/BILLS-113hr4552ih/pdf/BILLS-113hr4552ih.pdf
The AHC is continuing to analyze this bill and its potential impact on the equestrian community.