From "E.T." (11/09): "First, thanks for all the reviews- the info is great and almost too much to absorb. However I am wondering if reviewers pay much attention to the face shields on full-face helmets.
My AFD4 (Fulmer) comes with a face-shield that is designated as "not warranted shatter-proof" and has no DOT approval on there- thus runs into major trouble at New Jersey inspections.
Granted, New Jersey is one of the most anti-motorcycle states I can imagine and the DMV workers don't know squat about bikes.
But is the face-shield the Achilles heel of helmets?
I've heard that some more expensive helmets, including Scorpion helmets, are also marked "not warranted shatter-proof". If this is an issue, I think it would be a great thing to note in reviews. Thanks again for the site!"
Editor's Reply: You're probably right; I think most riders simply assume the face shield meets the same safety standards as the helmet shell. But as far as I know, the DOT FMVSS-218 standard does not address the visor/face shield.
Most states (36 I believe) require a face shield that meets the now very old (first developed in 1971) Vehicle Equipment Safety Standard VESC-8 (opens a .pdf file).
Most of the helmet face shields we see have a "VESC-8" label engraved on them. Some also meet ANSI Z87.1-2003 standards for eyewear.
But most face shields are also labeled 'Not warranted shatterproof" because it would be virtually impossible to claim that a face shield is "shatterproof" (whatever that vague term means!).
Given enough force, projectile and angle of attack, probably every face shield/visor will shatter at some point.
I have never seen a face shield with a "DOT" sticker or approval, because as far as we know, there is no such thing as a DOT standard for motorcycle helmet face shields.
Do you know exactly what the New Jersey law requires? Perhaps their documentation will provide some clues...
If anyone has further information on this, please contact us at the email address above.
Follow-up Response from "E.T." (12/09): "New Jersey inspection standards demand an 'approved' face shield or goggles, but fails to identify where such approval can be found... at least DOT helmets have a stamp.
I suspect the anecdotal cases of people being rejected at inspection for that may be as a result of someone at the DMV having a pissy day.
"NJ 39:3-76.8. Goggles or face shield to be worn by motorcycle operator. No person shall operate a motorcycle unless he wears goggles or a face shield of a type approved by the director.
The director is authorized and empowered to adopt rules and regulations covering types of goggles and face shields and the specifications therefore and to establish and maintain a list of approved goggles and face shields which meet the specifications as established hereunder."
Editor's Response: Interesting - you'd think they'd simply go with established standards instead of testing and approving goggles and face shields independently and then publishing a list that...apparently is not published or available anyway?