Quinn Approves Speed Limit Increase
Updated: Tuesday, August 20 2013, 12:15 PM CDT
Drivers in Illinois can re-set their cruise control. A new law, set to go into effect on the first of the year, will increase the speed limit on some Illinois roads. Governor Pat Quinn signed the legislation into law Monday afternoon.
The new law increases speed limits from 65 to 70 miles per hour on Illinois interstates. There are some restrictions on this increase. For instance, urban areas can keep lower speed limits.
The new law is getting mixed reviews from motorists.
"Coming from Katy, TX it's 75 and 80. Right here it's too slow," Victor Santoyo said. Santoyo was headed home to the Chicago area.
Scott Weller, also headed to the Chicago area, agrees.
"I-70 going into Columbia has a 70 mph speed limit and I'm not really comfortable on that road with the 70 mph speed limit," Weller said.
Illinois has some of the busiest interstates in the county. That's according to a new study by the federal highway administration. Overall the state ranks 5th in the nation on interstate traffic.
The local Illinois Department of Transportation district released a statement saying, “The Illinois Department of Transportation will implement the law. Lowering the speed threshold for reckless driving is good road safety policy. We are also encouraged that the law allows certain counties to opt-out and set a lower speed limit based on local needs. Safety remains our number one priority. We will continue to operate a safe and efficient
The new law also changes the speed limit at which drivers could be charged with excessive speeding. Currently the threshold is 31 mph over the speed limit but that number will be lowered to 26 miles per hour.
The Associated Press reports IDOT and the Illinois State Police were against the increase, with the main concern being safety on the busy interstates.
Another motorist agreed with this sentiment.
"They go fast enough. If you make it faster they'll just go faster," Barbara Stork said.
Stork is from Missouri, where interstate speed limits are already set at 70. She brought up concerns about allowing drivers to push a little harder on the gas pedal.
"It's 65 out there now and they go 70 or 80. So if you increase it now they're going to go 80 or 90," Stork explained.
Weller travels through Missouri on a regular basis and notes another problem.
"With the 70...you get more people who are going 75 and even 80 and it's the greater range of speeds that people are going is the unsafe factor," he said.
The law would only affect certain stretches of interstate with at least 4 lanes of traffic and a separation between the lanes moving in different directions. The counties surrounding Chicago and St. Louis could keep lower speed limits.
One Illinois driver we spoke with says the bill wouldn't make much difference.
"Most people speed anyways so it would just make it a little easier," Ellen Rodin said.
The bill initially passed the Illinois house it senate with a large majority, large enough that it could have withstood a veto.
Story by NewsChannel20.