Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn signed legislation on Monday that will allow drivers to operate their vehicles at 70 miles per hour along some highways in the state, according to a Chicago Tribune report on Tuesday.
Even though the Illinois Department of Transportation, Illinois State Police and safety organizations fear a safety conflict between cars and trucks, Quinn chose to put the safety concerns aside and deflect a possible veto showdown in Springfield – the state’s capital.
According to Quinn’s released statement on Monday, the 5 miles per hour increase in allowable travel speed brings Illinois’ rural interstate speed limits in line with neighboring states and the majority of states across the United States while preventing an increase in excessive speeding.
However, the six counties in and around Chicago - where some of the nation’s busiest interstate highways are located – are allowed to set their own lower speed limits under the law just as counties in and around St. Louis at the southern tip of the state are allowed to do. In the most populated parts of the state – Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry, and Will – the speed limit may very well remain the same as it is now.
As far as the Illinois Tollway is concerned, the speed limit would increase in some areas but not all.
By changing the speed limit to 70 miles per hour from 65 on rural highways on Jan. 1 of next year, Illinois is the 37th state to have the 70 mile-per-hour or higher speed limit wince the federally-required speed limit was repealed about 20 years ago.