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Old 05-13-2004, 11:21 PM   #1
Corn-Picker
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Default Why are DOT helmets not autocross legal?

I was reading some autocross rules for an event in Cumberland Maryland June 26th, and they state that DOT helmets are not approved. Why not? The require Snell '95 approved or newer.
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Old 05-13-2004, 11:44 PM   #2
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I would imagine that the DOT rating isn't that tough to get. The Snell rating on the other hand, requires impact tests, flame retardancy tests (for SA helmets), etc. that are needed for actual "race" use.

Snell M (motorcycle) helmets can generally be gotten quite cheaply at most motorcycle shops (not as cheaply as DOT-only ones, but still cheaply). If you plan to go to Solo 1 or Club Racing in the future, though, keep in mind that Snell M won't cut it and you'll need a Snell SA (special application) rating instead (both Snell certs are legal for Solo 2 (i.e. autocross), though).

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Old 05-14-2004, 07:32 AM   #3
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Yea, its the way they're tested that is the difference. Most of the DOT helmets could pass the snell tests, but its too expensive for most of them to test them out.
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Old 05-14-2004, 09:07 AM   #4
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I'm not sure if this applies to you or not, but if you already have a helmet and it has the "DOT" sticker on the outside, check under the inside lining and see if there's a Snell sticker. A lot of helmets don't necessarily put the Snell rating on the outside.
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Old 05-14-2004, 11:06 AM   #5
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actually, they have to be DOT and Snell approved
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Old 05-14-2004, 11:21 AM   #6
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Requiring Snell approved helmets for autocross is pretty funny.

Nomex lining? If death or injury from fire is relevant in Autocross, then why not require driving suits?

And the Snell SA impact test is based on impact with a roll cage. Fair enough--if your car has a roll cage. Not in stock class...

Given the stock seatbelts many autocrossers use, a full-face requirement would make a lot more safety sense than making people pay a fortune for a pointless sticker.
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Old 05-14-2004, 11:35 AM   #7
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Jon,
The SA rating is not required for Solo. Either an SA or an M rating is okay. It is the DOT rating alone that is not adequate for Solo. And a full face helmet is not needed because speeds are supposedly kept low.

Now if you can explain why we wear driving suits in rallying, you are a better man than me.
RichardM
PS: You are faster that is true. :-)
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Old 05-14-2004, 01:52 PM   #8
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This raises a new question, where's the best place to cheaply get a Snell M approved helmet online? I was looking at SA helmets in case I ever decide to do more competitive events, but they are much more expensive and have a narrower field of vision.

I don't even know if I have to worry about it, none of the auto-x's I've been to have called me on the DOT only helmet, maybe they think the Snell requirment is dumb too
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Old 05-14-2004, 01:54 PM   #9
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Perhaps someone should actually analyze the potential deceleration forces at the 40-60mph of a typical autocross. I bet the impact absorption of a bicycle helmet would be adequate.

But, as Richard points out, SCCA safety rules are based on all sorts of criteria other than actual safety. Taking the $6-800 you spend on a good firesuit and spending it instead on a restraint similar to a Hans device would add greatly to ProRally safety. But that's another topic...
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Old 05-14-2004, 02:25 PM   #10
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you can pick up an open-faced M 95/00 helmet for <$100. i'd suggest going to a local bike shop so that you can test fit helmets, especially if this is your first one. closed face with run you closer to $150.

Jeff-who doesn't whine constantly about the SCCA and instead tries to provide useful info on topic to the thread.
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