75 mph speed limit up for consideration on Illinois interstates

75 mph speed limit up for consideration on Illinois interstates

The speed limit was last raised to 70 mph in 2014.

A state lawmaker wants to raise the speed limit to 75 mph on rural Illinois interstates because he says it will make them safer, but others say more traffic deaths will result.

State Sen. Jim Oberweis, R-Sugar Grove, filed Senate Bill 2565 to raise the speed limit to 75 mph on interstates outside urban areas. Oberweis said the increase will make driving in rural areas safer with fewer drivers weaving in and out of traffic. He also is sponsoring Senate Bill 2564 to raise the speed limit on highways outside urban areas to a maximum of 60 mph from 55 mph.

This is not the first time Oberweis has pushed for increasing Illinois speed limits. In 2014, he garnered enough support to override former Gov. Pat Quinn’s veto to raise the speed limit on rural interstates from 65 mph to the current 70 mph.

Opponents argue the bill will make Illinois’ roadways unsafe.

WICS-TV in Springfield reported there were 10,572 more crashes in Illinois last time the speed limit was raised. The Institute for Highway Safety found there is an 8% increase in fatal traffic accidents for every 5 mph increase in the speed limit. And the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration says speed is a factor in 39% of fatal crashes in Illinois. The national average is 28%.

The American Automobile Association, or AAA, released a statement to WICS opposing the bill. “This would be a dangerous step in the wrong direction, putting Illinois’ recent gains in traffic safety into serious jeopardy,” AAA stated.

On the other hand, many motorists drive above the posted speed limit on a daily basis. A study by AAA found 48% of drivers admit they have driven 15 mph over the speed limit on a freeway in the past month.

Both of Oberweis’ bills were assigned to a transportation subcommittee on Feb. 18.

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