Concerns IL speed limit increase may increase accidents

Speed is a leading factor in many car and truck accidents. Drivers involved in crashes are often cited for driving over the speed limit or driving too fast for road conditions. Accidents in which speed is a determining factor are often more serious in nature and result in those individuals impacted suffering serious and painful injuries.

Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn recently signed a law into effect that will raise the speed limit on rural interstates throughout the state to 70 MPH. The decision to sign the law was made by Gov. Quinn, despite evidence to suggest that increased speed limits also result in an increase in the number and severity of motor vehicle accidents, particularly truck accidents.

Under the provisions of the new law, speed limits on interstates in and around Chicago will remain at 55 MPH. Those in more rural areas, however, will increase to 70 MPH, a move that has raised concerns among many highway safety advocates.

In fact, officials from both the Illinois Highway of Transportation and state police departments opposed the speed limit increase citing safety concerns. A previous vote in both the state house and senate, however, unanimously approved the measure leading many to believe Gov. Quinn had little choice politically but to approve the increased speed limit.

Of particular concern among those who opposed the speed limit increase are accidents involving large trucks and commercial vehicles. Highway safety advocates point out that it takes longer for these types of large and heavy trucks to stop. An increased speed limit means that trucks will be traveling at higher speeds, thereby reducing a truck driver’s ability to slow or stop if necessary.

The new 70 MPH speed limit goes into effect on Jan. 1 of next year. We’ll continue to report on issues related to this controversial issue as they arise.

Source: Chicago Tribune, “Qunn signs 70 mph speed limit law for illinois,” Monique Garcia and Matt Walberg, Aug. 20, 2013