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Responding to an increasing number of motorcyclists who operate their motorcycles without helmets, the U.S. Congress enacts a federal statute, the Put Your Helmet On! Act (the Act). The legislative record for the Act states, among other things, the following: “A significant portion of motorcyclists continue to operate their motorcycles without helmets, rendering them particularly prone to head injuries. These injuries have grown more frequent in recent years, and they are directly attributable to the omission of a helmet.” Before passing the Act, Congress held hearings to determine whether the failure to wear motorcycle helmets affects interstate commerce, but found the effect on interstate commerce to be minor, not substantial.
The Act defines a motorcyclist as anyone who operates a motorcycle, and it states the following:
Provision 1. “All motorcyclists driving on any road or highway within the United States are required to wear helmets. Violators will be subject to a fine in the amount of $500.”
Provision 2. “The cooperation of the states is
necessary to decrease the number of motorcyclists driving without helmets. To
that end, each state must choose between one of two options: (1) The state must
enact legislation, under state law, requiring all motorcyclists to wear helmets
within the boundaries of that state, or (2) if any state chooses not to enact
legislation, that state must direct its own law-enforcement personnel to
enforce Provision 1 of this federal Act and report any violations to federal
authorities for investigation and prosecution.”
Is Provision 1 constitutional? Explain, applying only the Commerce Clause and noting any amendments that can be made to the Act to rectify any constitutional deficiencies.
Is Provision 2 constitutional? Explain.