BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



                                                                  SB 105
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          Date of Hearing:  June 14, 2011

                            ASSEMBLY COMMITTEE ON HEALTH
                              William W. Monning, Chair
                      SB 105 (Yee) - As Amended:  April 12, 2011

           SENATE VOTE :  32-6
           
          SUBJECT  :  Public safety: snow sport helmets.

           SUMMARY  :  Requires individuals under 18 years of age, when 
          operating snow skis or a snowboard while downhill skiing or 
          snowboarding, to wear a properly fitted and fastened snow sport 
          helmet that meets specified standards.  Imposes a fine of $25 
          for a violation of the helmet requirement.  Requires ski resorts 
          to post signs giving reasonable notice of this helmet 
          requirement.  Specifically,  this bill  :  

          1)Requires individuals under 18 years of age, when operating 
            snow skis or a snowboard while downhill skiing or 
            snowboarding, to wear a properly fitted and fastened snow 
            sport helmet that meets specified standards.  Applies this 
            requirement to any person who rides upon a seat or any other 
            device that is attached to the snow skis or snowboard while 
            participating in the sport of downhill skiing or snowboarding. 
             Exempts Nordic skiing from this requirement.

          2)Imposes a fine of $25 for a violation of the helmet 
            requirement.  Makes the parent or legal guardian having 
            control or custody of an unemancipated minor whose conduct 
            violates this requirement jointly and severally liable with 
            the minor for the fine.

          3)Prohibits the provisions of above from being construed to 
            increase or decrease duties imposed under existing law.

          4)Requires ski resorts to post signs giving reasonable notice 
            that a person under 18 years of age is required to wear a 
            properly fitted and fastened snow sport helmet to operate snow 
            skis or a snowboard while downhill skiing or snowboarding and 
            that any person who fails to do so will be subject to a fine.  
            Requires ski resorts to provide prominent written notice of 
            the helmet requirement on all trail maps and resort Internet 
            Web sites.









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           FISCAL EFFECT  :  According to the Senate Appropriations 
          Committee, pursuant to Senate Rule 28.8, negligible state costs.

           COMMENTS  :

           1)PURPOSE OF THIS BILL  .  According to the author, half of all 
            skiing deaths are caused by a head injury.  Recent studies 
            show that when helmets are used, the incidence of traumatic 
            brain or head injury has been reduced 29% to 56%.  The Federal 
            Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) has found that more 
            than 7,000 head injuries per year on the slopes in the U.S. 
            could be prevented or reduced in severity by the use of a 
            helmet.  The CPSC study also showed that for children under 15 
            years of age, 53% of head injuries are addressable by use of a 
            helmet.  The author states that injuries that are sustained 
            without a helmet are not only dangerous, but also pose 
            significant financial hardship.  According to the American 
            Medical Association, first-year acute care costs for all 
            skiers under age 17 who sustain a head injury range from $1.5 
            million for patients with mild traumatic brain injury (TBI) to 
            $82 million for those with severe TBI.  Annual lifetime care 
            costs per an individual, excluding first year costs, range 
            from $329,000 for mild TBI to $8.96 million for severe TBI.  
            An estimated cost for life care for an 11 year-old with a mild 
            TBI is about $6.5 million.  In 2009-10, according to the 
            National Ski Areas Association, 19 out of 38 people who died 
            on the ski slopes were not wearing helmets at the time of the 
            injury.  Studies show that kids who have been wearing helmets 
            are more likely to wear them as they get older. The author 
            states that enactment of this bill will decrease the number of 
            serious injuries, thereby reducing health care premiums for 
            everyone.

           2)SKI AND SNOWBOARD ACCIDENT STATISTICS  .  According to "Skiing 
            Trauma and Safety: Sixteenth Volume," accidents claimed the 
            lives of 562 snowboarders and skiers at U.S. ski resorts 
            between 1992 and 2005.  The significant majority of the 
            fatalities were skiers.  Experienced males between the ages of 
            18 and 43 accounted for most of the deaths, most commonly due 
            to severe head injuries resulting from high-speed impact with 
            a tree.  An estimated 100,000 to 140,000 injuries at ski 
            resorts require treatment in an emergency room each year.  
            Approximately 37 people have died skiing or snowboarding per 
            year on average.
           








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          3)SKI AND SNOWBOARD HELMET STUDIES  .  Numerous studies conducted 
            in the last few years have shown that skiers and snowboarders 
            who wear helmets have a reduced risk of head injuries.  
            According to a 2005 study by Hagel, Pless, Goulet, Platt, and 
            Robitaille titled, "Effectiveness of Helmets in Skiers and 
            Snowboarders:  Case-Control and Case Crossover Study," helmets 
            may reduce the risk of head injuries in skiers and 
            snowboarders by 29% to 56%.  Another study by Macnab, Smith, 
            and Gagnon titled, "Effect of Helmet Wear on the Incidence of 
            Head/face and Cervical Spine Injuries in Young Skiers and 
            Snowboarders," found that helmet use for skiers and 
            snowboarders under the age of 13 reduces the incidence of head 
            injury requiring investigation and/or treatment.  Both studies 
            concluded that helmets protect skiers and snowboarders against 
            head injuries.

           4)SUPPORT  .  A number of supporters write that neuropsychological 
            research has shown that half of all skiing deaths are caused 
            by a head injury and that injuries that are sustained without 
            a helmet are not only dangerous, but also pose significant 
            financial hardship for families and the State of California.  
            California Chapter of the American College of Emergency 
            Physicians writes that during the winter months, its members 
            see young patients with injuries resulting from ski and 
            snowboard accidents, many of which could be avoided if helmets 
            were to be used while skiing or snowboarding. The American 
            Academy of Pediatrics, California District states that this is 
            a reasonable bill that creates an incentive for minors to wear 
            safety helmets during participation in high risk sports.  The 
            California Psychiatric Association states that providing 
            safety measures for skiing and snowboarding akin to those 
            currently existing for bicycling is a kind of common sense 
            that we attribute to such other forms of primary prevention as 
            a child car seats and good prenatal care.

           5)OPPOSITION  .  Capitol Resource Family Impact writes that this 
            bill oversteps bounds of state government in usurping the 
            rights of the parent to make decisions for their children.  
            The opposition writes that not only are there not enough 
            resources to monitor who wears and doesn't wear a helmet but 
            also who will do the monitoring and who will hand out the 
            violation ticket.

           6)RELATED LEGISLATION  .  AB 278 (Gaines) requires ski resorts to 
            prepare an annual safety plan and make it available to the 








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            public the same day a request is received at the resort.   AB 
            278 is set to be heard in this Committee on June 14, 2011.

           7)PREVIOUS LEGISLATION  .  Last year, SB 880 (Yee) contained 
            substantially similar provisions as this bill and AB 1652 
            (Jones) would have required ski resorts to prepare an annual 
            safety plan.  SB 880 was chaptered, however its provisions 
            were contingent on the enactment of AB 1652, which was vetoed 
            by the governor. 

            AB 990 (Jones) of 2009 would have required ski resorts to 
            prepare and file an annual safety report with the Division of 
            Occupational Safety and Health (DOSH) and to report to DOSH on 
            a quarterly basis any serious injuries or fatalities involving 
            patrons at the ski resort.  AB 990 died on the Suspense File 
            in the Assembly Appropriations Committee.

            SB 284 (Cox) of 2009 would have required DOSH to utilize the 
            most current safety standards when inspecting aerial passenger 
            tramways operated at ski resorts.  SB 284 would have also 
            required ski resorts to file an annual safety plan with DOSH, 
            make the safety plan available on demand, report to DOSH, 
            within 24 hours, any fatalities involving patrons at the 
            resort, and standardize safety signage and equipment padding 
            in use at the resort.  SB 284 died in the Senate Labor and 
            Industrial Relations Committee where it was set for a hearing, 
            but the hearing was cancelled at the request of the author.

            AB 2218 (Keeley) of 2002 would have created the California Ski 
            Safety Commission (Commission) in order to adopt uniform signs 
            and provide a copy of its standards and recommendations to all 
            ski areas doing business in California.  AB 2218 would have 
            also required ski areas that post signs to use the signs 
            adopted by the Commission.  AB 2218 failed passage in the 
            Senate Appropriations Committee.

           8)DOUBLE REFERRAL  .  This bill has been double-referred.  Should 
            this bill pass out of this committee, it will be referred to 
            the Assembly Committee on Judiciary.  
           
           REGISTERED SUPPORT / OPPOSITION  :

           Support 
           
          California Psychological Association (sponsor)








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          American Academy of Pediatrics, California District
          American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, 
          AFL-CIO
          Brain Injury Association of California
          California Chapter of the American College of Emergency 
          Physicians
          California Chiropractic Association
          California Emergency Nurses Association
          California Hospital Association
          California Medical Association
          California Nurses Association/National Nurses Organizing 
          Committee
          California Psychiatric Association
          California Psychological Association Division I Clinical and 
          Professional Practice
          California Psychological Association of Graduate Students
          California School Nurses Organization
          California Ski and Snowboard Safety Organization
          California Ski Industry Association
          California Society of Industrial Medicine and Surgery
          California Society of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
          California Travel Association
          Child Abuse Prevention Center
          Children's Specialty Care Coalition
          Consumer Attorneys of California
          Contra Costa Psychological Association
          Los Angeles County Psychological Association
          Marin County Psychological Association
          Monterey Bay Psychological Association
          National Ski Areas Association
          Occupational Therapy Association of California
          Orange County Psychological Association
          Redwood Psychological Association
          Richmond Area Multi-Services, Inc.
          San Diego Psychological Association
          San Francisco Psychological Association
          San Mateo County Psychological Association

           Opposition 
           
          Capitol Resource Family Impact


           Analysis Prepared by  :    Melanie Moreno / HEALTH / (916) 
          319-2097 








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