Check your helmet!

“Beware of “Carbon Fiber” helmets made in China or India” is the warning on the website for Advanced Carbon Composites helmets.

But this company’s American-made helmets have been recalled so many times by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that the agency has demanded the company never make another motorcycle helmet.

The owner, Mr. Kim L. Davis, has agreed to the agency’s demand that Advanced Carbon Composites stop designing, selling, or manufacturing motorcycle helmets, and that no company that he owns 3% or more of may design, sell, or manufacture motorcycle helmets.

Here’s what happened:

In 2005, the company notified the agency that during testing, it found that its EXT 001 helmet did not provide enough protection to meet safety standards.

As part of its recall effort, the company changed the interior of the helmet, which it designated as a new model, calling it the EXT 002. Then, rather than replace the defective EXT 001 helmets it had already sold, Advance Carbon Composites modified them, a move approved at the time by the safety agency.

But the modified and recalled helmets still did not meet safety standards. Neither did the EXT 002. So in 2007 the company agreed to also recall the EXT 002.

The company then modified the construction again, called that helmet the EXT 003 and retrofitted the recalled EXT 002 helmets.

Those helmets still didn’t meet the safety standard. The company agreed to another recall in 2009, this time of the EXT 003. Once again it modified the design of the helmet, but that didn’t work, either.

About five years after the first recall, N.H.T.S.A. undertook a civil enforcement action against the company, leading to the consent order. Under that order, the company has agreed to refund the purchase price of those helmets, and N.H.T.S.A. says “under no circumstances” is the company to try repairs. The company will also pay fines totaling $10,000. If the company does not comply, the case will go to federal district court, according to the consent order.

Meanwhile, about two weeks after the consent order was completed, Advanced Carbon Composites notified N.H.T.S.A. that its model EXT 004 didn’t meet federal safety standards, either. The company says the owners of those 645 helmets will get a refund, not a repair.

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