An overview of the standards and how we comply
At AFX, we take the issue of product safety very seriously, and employ a comprehensive system of testing and re-evaluation to ensure that every AFX helmet we produce meets, or exceeds, the requirements of the leading helmet safety standards. These standards, and the steps we take to ensure our compliance with them, are outlined below.
In North America the most common standard is DOT FMVSS-218, which is administered by the U.S. Government and is more commonly referred to as DOT. This standard is mandatory for every motorcycle helmet sold in the United States and Canada, and consists of a battery of tests to gauge impact protection, the retention systemís ability to keep the helmet firmly attached to the rider during such impacts, and how the helmetís design affects the riderís peripheral vision among other considerations.
External Link: › DOT FMVSS-218 STANDARD INFORMATION
Used in over 50 countries, the ECE 22.05 standard administered by the Economic Community of Europe is the most common internationally. While similar in many ways to the DOT standard, ECE tests for energy absorption and helmet rigidity at greater impact speeds and requires that a sample from each manufacturing batch be re-tested for compliance. This is an important difference, for under DOT regulations, a model that passes can essentially be sold forever without being re-tested (assuming no significant revisions are made).
External Link: › ECE 22.05 STANDARD INFORMATION (PDF)
This standard is administered by the Snell Memorial Foundation, a private, California-based organization dedicated to helmet research and testing. Candidate helmets are subjected to a battery of tests that gauge retention system strength, positional stability (whether the helmet shifts dangerously during an impact), and whether they can withstand penetration tests from numerous angles; even chin bars and face shields are impact tested. Similar to ECE requirements, Snell-approved helmets must be re-tested for compliance on a regular basis. AFX was the first company to ever produce a Snell-compliant youth helmet.
External Link: › SNELL MEMORIAL FOUNDATION
Preparing new helmet models for DOT FMVSS-218, ECE 22.05 and/or SNELL M2005 compliance begins at the design stage. Using the latest available equipment and computer tools in our factory's test facilities, prototype designs are repeatedly tested and refined until we are satisfied that they will meet or exceed the safety requirements for those markets where the particular model will be sold.
Only after a helmet has passed both our internal tests and those implemented by our independent evaluators, will a new model be released for full production. This testing and re-evaluation process ensures that we are providing consumers with an effective safety product.
As one would expect, helmets that cover or shield a greater proportion of a riderís head and face area should provide superior protection in the case of an accident. For example, a full-face helmet will out-perform an open-face model thanks to its shell wrapping around the riderís chin and jaw line, and with its durable plastic shield protecting the eyes, nose and cheek areas.