70 mph speed limit clears House committee

70 mph speed limit clears House committee

SPRINGFIELD — Legislation that would raise the speed limit on interstate highways in most sections of downstate Illinois to 70 mph advanced through the House Transportation Committee Wednesday, 8-0.

The bill, SB 2356, now moves to the full House for its consideration. It already passed the Senate, 41-6, in April.

The measure would allow a 70 mph limit — now 65 mph — on any interstate highways outside of Cook, DuPage, Lake, McHenry or Will counties. It also would permit officials in Madison and St. Clair counties, near St. Louis, to set a lower interstate speed limit.

The Illinois State Police and Illinois Department of Transportation have objected to the higher speed limit, saying that it could lead to more traffic casualties.

Rep. Jerry Costello II, D-Red Bud, said 34 states have speed limits of 70 mph or higher, and that traffic safety studies of the higher limits in Louisiana and Michigan found that "there was no significant increase in crashes."

Also Wednesday, the transportation committee approved two bills that had been sponsored in the Senate by Sen. Chapin Rose, R-Mahomet.

One, an amended version of SB 1817, says that a motorist convicted for the first time of the offense of driving without insurance may not be required to pay higher automobile insurance premiums for three years. The legislation grew out of the case of a Douglas County woman who had to pay the higher costs after her insurance company neglected to notify her that her insurance coverage had lapsed.

The other bill, SB 1735, says drivers who causes serious injury or the death of another person while driving on a suspended or revoked license can be charged with a Class 4 felony, which can result in as much as three years in prison.

"Currently the strongest penalty for driving on a suspended or revoked license is a Class A misdemeanor," said Rep. Sue Scherer, D-Decatur. "When a driver's recklessness and disregard for the law results in serious injury or death it should not be treated as a minor offense."

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Orbiter wrote on May 08, 2013 at 2:05 pm

"The measure would allow a 70 mph limit — now 65 mph — on any interstate highways outside of Cook, DuPage, Lake, McHenry or Will counties."

Yes, speed limits on the Chicagoland highways are pointless since those drivers flaunt the law and drive 75+ mph anyway.

Seriously, I see no reason to restrict the speed on highways and tollways in those counties--the roads are just as safe as elsewhere.  It's not like a "school zone" where kids are more likely to wander out on the road.  And increasing the speed in high-traffic corridors will have the effect of reducing congestion.  

Faster driving
   =less time on the road to get to the destination,
   =less congestion,
   =fewer crashes,
   =happier drivers.

GeneralLeePeeved wrote on May 08, 2013 at 2:05 pm

one small caveat, though.....the numbnutz who are out there texting while they drive, will now all be going faster......oh boy!

vcponsardin wrote on May 08, 2013 at 2:05 pm

Not true.  Higher freeway speeds translate to higher accident and fatality rates.  Death by speeding auto does not make for a happier driver...

For actual evidence, see the following link--http://www.iihs.org/research/qanda/speed_limits.aspx

DukeGanote wrote on May 08, 2013 at 3:05 pm

HA! The IIHS isn't impartial. Notice they forgot to mention Utah's experience with an increase to 80-mph:


Or that rural interstates are Illinois' safest rural roads; the fatality rate of 0.39 is far lower than rates up to 3.37 on other rural roads:


Or that rural interstates account for 7% of Illinois' traffic death toll


In summary, rural interstates are Illinois' fastest, safest, and most fuel-efficient rural roads. They carry long-distance travelers, truckers, and tourists. They deserve a higher limit.

So-called "safety groups" should focus on crash-prone locations, not cash-rich citations.

jcwconsult wrote on May 09, 2013 at 3:05 pm

The IIHS has a direct, multi-million dollar conflict of interest in artificially low posted limits. There "research" on the issue is anything but unbiased peer-reviewed research.

IIHS member insurance companies issue large premium surcharges to safe driving policyholders caught in speed traps where the posted limits are deliberately set far below the safe driving speeds.  If the limit should be 45 mph, but is set at 30 and worked as a speed trap, most of the tickets go to safe drivers for $$$$, not safety. The IIHS promotes these artificially low limits as a predatory money-grab.

See the science of the safest 85th percentile limits on our website www.motorists.org

James C. Walker, Life Member-National Motorists Association

ROB McCOLLEY wrote on May 08, 2013 at 2:05 pm
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I enjoyed my time on I-15 in Utah where it's 80 MPH. No kidding.


Chicago legislators have kept us at 65 because they simply don't understand how wide-open and uncongested are the thousands of miles of downstate roads.

jcwconsult wrote on May 09, 2013 at 3:05 pm

I have done extensive speed studies on rural I-10 in west Texas where the posted limit is also 80 mph.  The 85th percentile speeds were from 81 to 84 and only 1.2% of the drivers were at 90 mph or higher.

It is a TOTAL myth that drivers will always go "10-over".  Realistic speed limits get respect and high compliance, unrealistically low ones don't.

Chicago legislators keep artificially low posted limits in Cook County for $$$$, not for safety.  Speed traps are very common in Cook County and the goal is $$$$. What is hard to understand is WHY Chicagoland residents have not thrown the speed trap supporters out of office, to be replaced with officials that value safety above ticket revenue.  Apathy reigns and both residents and visitors get fleeced for $$$$.

James C. Walker, Life Member-National Motorists Association

TomG wrote on May 08, 2013 at 3:05 pm

I wonder how much money it's going to cost an already broke state to replace all the speed limit signs? 

While 70mph will be nice, I'm rather certain there are more pressing issues that could be addressed. 

ROB McCOLLEY wrote on May 08, 2013 at 3:05 pm
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Yeah, I thought about that.  I also think about trucking companies that bypass Illinois altogether. 

Sid Saltfork wrote on May 08, 2013 at 3:05 pm

"bypass Illinois altogether"?  What do they do?  Drive out of their way around Illinois?  Do they drive thru Wisconsin, catch the ferry, and drive thru Michigan?  Do they go thru Memphis either east, or west?  Chicago is the primary destination.  How do you get to Chicago from the south, or west without going thru Illinois?  Must be the Wisconsin route......, or thru Kentucky, Indiana, and briefly thru Illinois.

Truckers complain about the speed limit; but they take the most direct, and shortest route.  

Orbiter wrote on May 08, 2013 at 4:05 pm

Yea, Sid, didn't you know?  There's a giant roundabout with Illinois in the center.  That's why Urbana keeps wanting to construct them.  ;)

Sid Saltfork wrote on May 08, 2013 at 10:05 pm

Kinda like Indianapolis???

ROB McCOLLEY wrote on May 08, 2013 at 5:05 pm
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I-40 to Nashville, turn left

Sid Saltfork wrote on May 08, 2013 at 9:05 pm

So if I am driving to Minneapolis, San Franscisco, L.A., New York City, or the other way around; I take I-40 to Nashville, and turn left?  Come on... you know that truckers do not drive out of their way because of a 5 mph difference in the state's speed limit.  Your statement about avoiding Illinois will make your nose grow.  You will need a new caricuture.

ROB McCOLLEY wrote on May 08, 2013 at 11:05 pm
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I assume you're being intentionally dense.


If you can avoid Illinois taxes, and Illinois speed limits, and there's a benefit to doing so — like the LA to NYC route you mention — then yes, you'd stay on 40 rather than take the diagonal route.  Or at least, you'd start the diagonal in Nashville. (I-44 through Oklahoma is a pricey toll road. That's part of the calculation.)


If you want to go to Minneapolis from the southeast, you might find I-74 an irrestible diagonal. But certainly not 94 through Chicago.


On the other hand, time is money. 

US speed limits.svg

Sid Saltfork wrote on May 09, 2013 at 1:05 pm

Take the route from the Quad Cities to Danville; and divide the distance by 70 mph, and 65 mph.  Subtract the time with 70 mph from the time with 65 mph.  The difference is minor.  Maybe, 20 to 30 minutes tops.  You are trying to say that truckers would take more time, and fuel expense by avoiding Illinois because of the minor time difference between 65 mph, and 70 mph.  The shorter the distance, the less the fuel expense.  You obviously have not driven professionally.  Your example of L.A. to New York maybe right; but Seattle to New York, or any route north of Arizona would be cheaper thru Illinois.  Stick with logic before making statements about something you do not know about.  

Oh... I forgot that you have a Law Degree.  Gee.... you must be right......

jcwconsult wrote on May 09, 2013 at 3:05 pm

This is good news, a 70 mph limit for rural Interstates would improve safety across Illinois.  It will not be quite as good as posting the current, actual, safe 85th percentile speed of free flowing traffic under good conditions - the safest point to establish most speed limits for the smoothest traffic flow with the fewest conflicts between vehicles and the lowest crash risks.

If the goal for the posted limits is to maximize safety, then most rural Interstates would be posted at 75 mph in Illinois, with a few of the best areas at 80. This is the same for the current, actual, safe travel speeds in most midwest states. In the east most would be 70 or 75, and in the far west 80 or 85 would be the most common.

In addition, there is no valid traffic safety reason to exempt Cook County or other highly urban counties.  Most far-suburban Cook County Interstates are posted at 55 mph which is WAY below the current, actual, safe traffic flow speeds. The 85th percentile speeds on some are up to 75 mph the tiny percentage driving at 55 or below makes them dangerous moving safety hazards for everyone else.  Speed variance, more than absolute speed, is the danger factor and posted limits have almost no effect on actual travel speeds at the upper end.

The objections from IDOT are counter to the science of traffic safety engineering and should be totally rejected.  See the science on our website www.motorists.org

James C. Walker, Life Member-National Motorists Association

Sid Saltfork wrote on May 10, 2013 at 7:05 pm

I drove up I-57 to Chicago, and back today.  The vast majority of vehicles were not driving 65, 70, 75, or 80 today.  They were driving well past 80 mph.  It was like driving on the autobahn with people on their phones, and one hand on the wheel.  It was exciting on the other side of Kankakee's road construction.  There were only three patrol cars on the road this morning, and two this afternoon.  With the manpower shortage, they should just let whatever happens happen.  Might as well not even have a state speed limit.

Marti Wilkinson wrote on May 12, 2013 at 2:05 am

When I drive in the Chicago area I choose to go with the overall flow of traffic. There are some areas where if you don't go beyond the posted speed limit, you will be run down. In the loop the traffic can slow down to a snails pace, even if the posted speed limit is technically faster.

The history behind the autobahn in Germany and how it's developed over the years is quite a fascinating topic. There are also both cultural and engineering differences that make the suggested speed limits possible.

Sid Saltfork wrote on May 13, 2013 at 12:05 pm

The only police that I saw were at the road construction sites.  The fine for speeding in the construction zones is steep; but it was not preventing drivers from speeding.  Other than the construction sites; most drivers were driving over 80 mph. It seemed that the police were trying to concentrate on the construction sites rather than on the rest of the interstate.  Maybe, there are not enough troopers with the state's service cuts?

If the state speed limit were raised to 80 mph; people would drive 90 mph.  My major complaint was the number of speeding drivers weaving in, and out of traffic while on cell phones.

At least, the Germans are orderly.  American kids learn to "be good".  German kids learn to "be obedient".  There are not many old cars with dragging exhaust pipes on the autobahn either.