Helmets are considered the most important piece of safety gear for a driver or rider.  Over the years helmet technology has changed and so have the requirements for driving events.  While there are several types of certifications for modern helmets, the Sports Car Driving Association requires that all helmets meet the standards of the Snell Memorial Foundation.  A Snell certification is considered the gold standard for helmet testing and is recognized by every major racing body.

All drivers at SCDA events are required to wear a helmet with a Snell rating of SA2010 or newer.  Questions often arise about the certification process and what are the difference between ratings.  Don’t be caught out at tech inspection with the wrong rating of helmet so here are more details when choosing a helmet.

The Snell Foundation tests dozens of types of helmets based on their designated use and has categories such as Motorcycling, Elite Automotive Sports, Kart, SA Automotive Sports as well as Equestrian, Skiing and Cycling. Some helmets can look similar but are designed and tested for different applications.  The only acceptable helmets for use at SCDA events are rated SA2010 or SA2015.  The rating SA is for Competitive Automotive Sports. The Snell Foundation describes the differences in this way:

The SA standard was designed for competitive auto racing while the M standard was for motorcycling and other motorsports. The K standard was released to accommodate helmets used in karting. There are three major differences between them:

  1. The SA standard requires flammability test while the M and K standards do not.
  2. The SA and K standards allow for a narrower visual field than the M standard (Some SA and K certified helmets may not be street legal).
  3. The SA and K standards include a rollbar multi-impact test while the M standard does not.

The date code (2010, 2015) refers to the expiration of the certification, which is 12 years from the date shown. For example, a SA2010 helmet is acceptable until 2022.  Helmet shoppers should look for a helmet with a 2015 certification to get the longest use from their investment.  The Snell Foundation also offers guidelines for purchasing the right helmet. 

Helmets with an M-rating or DOT-ratings are not acceptable.   Motorcycle helmets do not have the proper safety requirements for car use, specifically a rollbar multi-impact test.

Helmets MUST have one of these two labels on the inside.

Helmet Suppliers: