43 Percent Failure Rate for DOT Certified Helmets

  • To recap, Malaysia doesn’t acknowledge DOT certified helmets.

  • Part of the reason is due to their self-certification method.

  • A lab has found a 43 percent failure rate since 2014.

Unless you’ve just returned to Earth after being “taken on a tour” by aliens, you probably already know that the Road Transport Ministry (JPJ) of Malaysia doesn’t acknowledge DOT certified helmets. It’s due to a number of reasons, but more alarmingly, testing has uncovered a 43 percent failure rate.

You see, DOT certification is based on trust placed by the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). As such, the manufacturers self-test the helmets to the current DOT FMVS 218 standard and apply the label. The DOT doesn’t require the helmets to be tested by an independent lab prior to sale.

ECE, SNELL Foundation, SHARP certified helmets conversely, were sent to labs for testing and certification before hitting the marketplace.

However, the NHTSA contracts the services of Act Labs to purchase batches of DOT-certified helmets from the market and test them.

Please refer to the table below, courtesy and credit to

The data averaged over 6 years from 2014 to 2019 showed that 43.1 percent had failed in testing, while 62.8 percent failed labeling regulations.

The NHTSA imposes a heavy fine of USD 5,000 per helmet that do not meet the FMVS 218 guidelines. They may also force the manufacturer to recall the helmets but only 12 of the 72 that failed were pulled off the shelves, thus far.

DO NOTE that helmets with both DOT and ECE certifications are fine, as the they were also tested to ECE standards.

The NHTSA publishes the brand, model, test results and investigation status (since 2003) in a compliance database. You can >>> click here <<< for more details.

Wahid's lust for motorcycles was spurred on by his late-Dad's love for his Lambretta on which he courted, married his mother, and took baby Wahid riding on it. He has since worked in the motorcycle and automotive industry for many years, before taking up riding courses and testing many, many motorcycles since becoming a motojournalist. Wahid likes to see things differently. What can you say about a guy who sees a road safety message in AC/DC's "Highway to Hell."

Related Articles


Follow us on Facebook

Follow us on YouTube