A new state law may require drivers to exercise greater caution on New Jersey’s streets and roadways. Recently-signed legislation allows e-scooters on bicycle paths, streets and highways across the state, as reported by The North Jersey Record. Both motorists and pedestrians will do well to remain alert to an increasing number of the motorized scooters darting about in the Garden State’s busy streets and intersections. The electric scooter riders can also take added precautions; wearing a safety helmet can help prevent serious head injuries.

As found in a study conducted by researchers at Rutgers and reported by Wells Media Group Insurance Journal, the number of head and facial injuries suffered by e-scooter riders has tripled over the past ten years. The Rutgers study also determined that bleeding of the brain and concussions were two of the most common injuries suffered by scooter riders.

Hospital records that made note of whether the injured party was wearing a helmet showed that more than 65% of the individuals admitted for ER treatment were riding a scooter without one. Records also showed that fractures, particularly in the skull or facial area, accounted for about 5% of the injuries.

While U.S. scooter-rider helmet laws may vary state-by-state, a nation-wide law regarding mandatory helmet use in Italy demonstrated the effectiveness of wearing protective equipment in reducing head injuries. Before the law went into effect, there were about 27 head trauma injuries reported per 10,000 people. After the helmet law went into effect, the number of scooter-related head injuries went down to nine injuries per 10,000 people.

Citing the success of Italy’s mandatory helmet law and our nation’s alarming rise of e-scooter injuries, the co-author of the Rutgers study urges that the U.S. take similar steps. The researcher believes that standardized e-scooter helmet laws and licensing can reduce the growing number of related head and facial injuries suffered each year.