May 13, 2013

Illinois Attorneys Address Helmet Laws After Greene County Motorcycle Accident

by Levin & Perconti

Kmov.com recently reported that a Greene County couple is dead after their motorcycle was rear-ended at a traffic light on Saturday night. A motorcycle accident attorney at our firm learned that according to authorities, a Harley Davison was stopped in traffic and was attempting to turn left onto Kane road when a pickup truck crashed into it from behind.

The 46-year old driver and the 42-year old passenger were both ejected from the motorcycle and were both pronounced dead at the scene. The 21-year old pickup truck driver was not injured and was charged with failure to reduce speed to avoid an accident. After an accident reconstruction team was called to southbound US 67 at Kane road shortly after the accident, authorities were able to report that neither the driver of passenger of the motorcycle was wearing a helmet. Investigations into the crash are ongoing.

Our attorneys understand that more people in Illinois have begun to rely on motorcycles as a means of transportation, and fatal accidents involving motorcycles are greatly increasing as a result. A primary reason for the severity of these accidents has to do with helmet laws, or lack thereof, in the state of Illinois. Officially enacted in 1970, Illinois does not have any helmet laws in place for motorcycle drivers. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in 2011, 83% of the people who died from motorcycle crashes in Illinois were not wearing a helmet. This is among the highest percent nationally. In the United States, Illinois ranks 47th for lives saved and economic costs saved due to helmet use. Shockingly, compared to the 36 lives saved in states with a Universal Helmet Law in place in 2010, only 4 were saved in Illinois. Additionally, states with a Universal Helmet Law saved about $73 million dollars, while Illinois only saved $9 million.

From the perspective of our law firm and many others throughout the state of Illinois, enacting a Universal Helmet Law should be considered. As most motorcyclists involved in serious accident die of head injuries, wearing a helmet at all times is vital. Many believe that helmets will reduce visibility or impair hearing while riding, however, these statements are both false. The risk of head injury would be reduced by 69%, and the risk of death would decrease by 37%. Thus, there is substantial evidence that increasing helmet use would not only save an enormous amount of money, but would save many lives and help to significantly avoid personal injury.

We want to urge the public to be more cautious when traveling on Illinois roadways this summer. Those involved in motorcycle accidents caused by another driver’s reckless or negligence behavior may have legal recourse available to them. If you or someone you know has suffered as a result of a motorcycle accident, contact us for more information. We are prepared to offer you the resources you need to seek legal action and determine what rights may be available to you.