How to tell if a helmet is DOT approved

How to Tell if a Helmet is DOT Approved

The US Department of Transportation (DOT) has proposed a list of requirements, i.e., FMVSS 218, which every motorbike helmet company must stick to, and any helmet that meets or exceeds this set of standards is called a DOT approved helmet.

Likewise, in recent times, the DOT has taken actions against the use of Novelty helmets that do not meet the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS) 218. This will minimize the risks of deaths in a motorcycle crash.

The added protection offered by a DOT approved helmet can keep the motorcycle riders safe from fatal injuries in case of an impact. However, you might be thinking how can you distinguish between a Novelty helmet and a DOT certified helmet? In this Blog post we will guide you in this regard, and thus, you’ll be able to easily identify a DOT helmet after a quick examination.

How will you know if a helmet is DOT certified?

Following are some aspects that’ll illustrate whether a helmet is DOT approved or not:

Thick lining

Check out the inner padding of the helmet to know if it is approved by DOT or not. Mostly, the DOT certified helmets features one-inch thick polystyrene foam layer, which may not be perceptible, but you can feel its firmness and thickness by your hand. On the contrary, the novelty helmets comes with little to no padding.


You should check the weight of the helmet you are going to purchase. A lighter helmet with the weight of about 1 pound or less will certainly be a novelty helmet. While the DOT approved helmet weighs around three pounds and gives a more substantial feel.

Sturdy chin straps

A DOT helmet will always have sturdy and tough chinstraps, which will keep your helmet firmly in place. If a helmet is loose, it will fly off in an accident, consequently, it will not serve its function at all.

Full-face helmet design

A full-face design often indicates that the helmet meets DOT safety standards. You’ll rarely see a full-face novelty helmet.

Spiky and bulging decorations

According to DOT standards, the helmet decorations should not extend out more than 0.2 inches. Therefore, if you see any protruding objects, such as Viking horns, and spikes, the helmet will be a novelty helmet.

Manufacturer’s label

Every DOT approved helmet requires to have a manufacturer’s label with the listed information:

  • Company’s name
  • Helmet size
  • Model number
  • Material used
  • Manufacturing date
  • Owner’s info

Any helmet that doesn’t have any label placed inside or on it is not a DOT approved one.

DOT sticker

dot approved sticker

Look for a ‘DOT’ sticker on the back side of the helmet. This sticker is essential for helmets that meet FMVSS 218 requirements. However, there are some novelty helmets with counterfeit DOT stickers, so you need to beware of such products.

Other certifications

Besides DOT sticker, a good protective gear might come with some other certifications as well.  Snell and American National Standards Institute (ANSI) are some of the other valid US safety certifications.