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Are these correct? If not, why? What do they mean?

1. The DOT standards are important because they outline the minimum requirements all motorcycle helmets must meet, which has already saved countless lives. (With 'has' here, does it refer to the clause before? This is the original sentence from a webpage.)

2. The DOT standards are important because they outline the minimum requirements all motorcycle helmets must meet, which have already saved countless lives. (Is this correct? With 'have' here, does it refer to 'standards'? If not, what is it?)

Thanks.
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Hello Jack

To my mind, the problem here seems to be that the 'which' clause doesn't have a proper subject. Really, the sentence means:

1. The DOT standards are important because they outline the minimum requirements all motorcycle helmets must meet. The application of these standards has already saved countless lives.

Or perhaps:

1a. The DOT standards are important because they outline the minimum requirements all motorcycle helmets must meet. Outlining these requirements has already saved countless lives.

That's why the writer has chosen 'has': his subject is a notion (either of the two above) that is merely implicit in the sentence.

(If you change the verb to 'have', as in #2, you then make 'minimum requirements' the subject of the which-clause. This is less satisfactory: requirements on their one can't save lives. They have to be implemented.)

I'd be interested to see what other posters think, though.

MrP
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I'd say #1 is the ticket, Jack. We have a sentence modifying clause. It kind of says,

blah blah blah, which [what I've stated] has already saved countless lives.

He got four days off, which was nice.
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Comments  
I agree with the others on the thread. "which" means "this (aforementioned) outlining of requirements", so it takes "has".

CJ
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