Just as seat belts and child safety seats save lives, so do motorcycle helmets. It’s time we joined the overwhelming majority of the country and make wearing a helmet the law.
Chicago, IL (PRWEB) February 22, 2013
Citing his law firm’s recently compiled data, Chicago motorcycle accident lawyer Patrick A. Salvi today called on Illinois lawmakers to enact a law that makes wearing helmets mandatory for the state’s motorcycle riders.
Salvi said his firm’s analysis of Illinois traffic crash data shows that an estimated 157 lives could have been saved between 2007 and 2011 if the riders had been wearing a helmet at the time of the crash. The best way to ensure that all riders take this crucial safety measure is by making helmet use a matter of law, he said.
Currently, Illinois is one of only three states in the country that does not require helmet use by motorcyclists of any age. The state’s mandatory helmet law was repealed in 1969.
“While I understand that motorcycle riders cherish the freedom to ride as they please, the safety benefits that could be gained by a mandatory helmet law cannot be ignored,” said Salvi, managing partner of the Chicago personal injury law firm of Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard P.C.
“Just as seat belts and child safety seats save lives, so do motorcycle helmets. It’s time we joined the overwhelming majority of the country and make wearing a helmet the law.”
Salvi pointed to Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) traffic crash statistics showing that 634 motorcycle operators died in the state in crashes between 2007 and 2011.
During that same five-year period, the average helmet usage reported in a statewide IDOT observational study was 33 percent. Using that figure, Salvi said, one could estimate that perhaps 209 motorcyclists killed in the accidents were wearing helmets, while at least 425 were not helmeted.
"This estimate is actually conservative," Salvi said. "The number of unhelmeted riders who die in crashes is almost certainly greater than the percentage of all unhelmeted riders.”
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, helmets are estimated to be 37 percent effective in preventing fatal injuries to motorcycle riders. In other words, for every 100 riders killed in motorcycle crashes while not wearing a helmet, 37 could have been spared had all 100 worn helmets, the NHTSA explains.
It follows, Salvi said, that roughly 157 lives – or 37 percent of the estimated 425 non-helmeted riders killed in Illinois between 2007 and 2011 – could have been saved if the rider had been wearing a helmet instead.
“When you consider this estimate, it just makes sense to require all motorcycle operators and their passengers, no matter what age, to wear a helmet,” Salvi said. “If even just one of those lives could have been saved by a helmet, the law would be more than worth it.”
Instead of waiting for Illinois lawmakers to make helmet use mandatory, riders and passengers should take it upon themselves to wear a helmet that complies with the federal safety standards whenever they are on the road, Salvi said.
“As our firm has seen from experience, many motorcycle accidents are caused due to the careless driving of others on the road, or the refusal of some car drivers to responsibly share the road with motorcyclists,” Salvi said. “It can be dangerous on the roads for motorcyclists. They need to take all reasonable steps to protect their safety and health.”
If a motorcyclist or passenger is injured by a negligent driver, it’s also important to contact an attorney in order to protect their legal rights, Salvi added.
“Our firm is dedicated to promoting safe travel on Illinois roads,” he said, “and that includes our commitment to aggressively protecting the rights of the injured.”
About Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard P.C.
Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard P.C. is a leading Chicago personal injury firm with offices in Chicago (22 West Washington Street, Suite 1600, Chicago IL 60602) and Waukegan (218 North Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue, Waukegan, IL 60085). In addition to representing clients in catastrophic personal injury, medical malpractice, aviation and product liability cases, the firm focuses on car and truck accidents, airplane and train accidents, construction injuries, birth injuries, brain injuries, unsafe properties and animal attacks. The firm has obtained more than $650 million on behalf of its clients in personal injury and wrongful death cases, including 195 multi-million dollar verdicts or settlements. For more information, call (312) 372-1227 or use the firm’s online contact form.