Snell Memorial Foundation
||This article needs additional citations for verification. (August 2009)|
|Headquarters||North Highlands, California|
|Key people||Executive Director Edward B. Becker, General Manager Stephen Johnson|
|Services||Helmet safety research, testing, certification, and education|
The Snell Memorial Foundation (SMF) is a not-for-profit organization created to provide a high quality standard of safety for helmets. Founded in 1957, SMF is named after William "Pete" Snell, a popular sports car racer who died in 1956 of head injuries he received when the racing helmet he wore failed to protect his head. A group of friends, scientists, physicians, and others joined together to create a group that would promote research and education as well as test and develop standards to improve the effectiveness of helmets.
 Current standards
- B-95 Bicycle helmets
- B-95C Children's bicycle helmets
- E2001 Equestrian helmets
- H2000 Harness racing helmets
- L-98 Mopeds and Low Powered Vehicles
- M2005 or M2010 Motorcycle helmets[dated info]
- N-94 Undefined or general use helmets used in sports and industry
- RS-98 Recreational Skiing & Snowboarding helmets
- SA2005 Auto racing helmets
- SA2010 - 2010 Helmet Standard For Use in Competitive Automotive Sports
- SAH2010 - 2010 Addendum to SA2010 for the addition of frontal head restraint systems.
- K2005 Kart racing helmets (same as SA without the need for fire retardant fittings)
- K2010 - 2010 Helmet Standard For Use in Kart Racing
To qualify for SMF certification, the helmet must pass a series of tests. The tests are determined depending on the application and the requirements of the standard.
Snell Standards significantly surpass those set by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), ASTM International (ASTM) and the U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission's 16 CFR Part 1203.
Snell Standards are updated about every five years. These updates are based on new scientific research and improved, available manufacturing technologies. As such, and in addition to other factors such as typical use wear and tear, Snell recommends that helmets be replaced approximately every five years to ensure good safety.
In 2005, Motorcyclist magazine wrote an in-depth article discussing helmet testing and safety. The article included criticism of SMF standards by prominent head injury and helmet design experts, including Dr. Harry Hurt, author of the Hurt Report, who described the Snell standards as "a little bit excessive," and Dr Jim Newman, former head of SMF, who characterized the then-current SMF standard as a "marketing gimmick." The article reported that a softer absorption material would transfer less g force to the head in the most common motorcycle accidents than the stiffer absorption material required in Snell-Certified helmets. SMF released a technical critique and rebuttal to the article which is available at their website, which asserts that there is no viable data to indicate that a softer liner or a softer shell could result in less severe head injuries. In September 2009, New York Times published a follow-up article which cited the 2005 Motorcyclist article; SMF rebutted it as well. SMF's 2010 standard for motorcycle helmets now conforms with one of the magazine's criticisms, that a larger head will also be a heavier head.
- M2005 and 2010 are incompatible and helmets must be designed to meet either one or the other standard. M2005 labels and testing remain available until June 30, 2011 and production ends March 31, 2012. The first M2010 helmets went on sale October 1, 2009. The M2010 Standard is now in its final form., Snell Memorial Foundation, retrieved 2009-10-08
- Snell Helmet Safety Standards, Snell Memorial Foundation, retrieved 2009-10-08
- Ford, Dexter; (photog) Jim Brown (June 2005), "Motorcycle Helmet Performance: Blowing the Lid Off: Searching for the truth behind motorcycle helmet design, helmet standards and actual head protection", Motorcyclist
- Moon, Wendy (February 2005), "Harry Hurt Speaks Out; Helmets, The Brain, Safety Studies & Rider Training", Motorcycle Consumer News (Bowtie): 23–27
- The Snell Memorial Foundation (September 9, 2005), Technical Response to Motorcyclist Magazine "Blowing The Lid Off Article" (PDF)
- The Snell Memorial Foundation (September 24, 2009), Snell's response to New York Time Article “Sorting Out Differences in Helmet Standards”
- SMF M2010 Release Schedule, Snell Memorial Foundation