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Back to back accidents resulted in 2 motorcyclist deaths on I-80 early this morning. The accidents took place just west of Larkin Avenue in Joliet.

About 2:25 a.m., a motorcycle with 2 riders crashed into the rear of a semi truck. Immediately after that, a second motorcycle crashed into the first wreck’s debris. Both persons on the first motorcycle died. The rider of the second motorcycle was taken in an unknown condition to the Provena Saint Joseph Medical Center. The truck driver was not injured.

The cause of the first crash is still under investigation.

More than 125,000 motorcyclists have died since the enactment of the Highway Safety Act in 1966 and The National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 1966.

Motorcyclist fatalities reached a historic low in 1997, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) National Center for Statistics and Analysis. However, since 1998, fatalities have increased each year. In 2006, motorcycle rider fatalities reached an all-time high of 4,810.

According to an NHTSA report, in 2004, about two-thirds of the fatally injured motorcycle riders in States without universal helmet laws were not wearing helmets compared to 15 percent in States with universal helmet laws.

There is no information yet as to whether the two persons who lost their lives this morning were wearing helmets. And, even when a helmet is worn, a fatality could happen.

But, research shows that helmet use anduniversal helmet laws reduce deaths and serious injuries among motorcyclists. Currently, there are only 3 states that do not require all or some motorcyclists to wear helmets. Illinois is one of the them. The other two states are Iowa and New Hampshire.

Therefore, in Illinois, the choice is up to the rider. However, when looking at the statistics, it seems a good and safe choice would be to put on a helmet before going out for a ride.

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