Drivers

Illinois Legislature Passes Uniform Speed Limit Bill

May 18, 2009

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A bill to allow a uniform 65-mph speed limit on rural interstates in Illinois now rests in the hands of the governor.


The Illinois State Senate voted 40-8 Monday to allow uniform speed limits on Illinois' interstates, to take effect Jan. 1.

The bill will allow a uniform 65-mph speed limit for both cars and trucks on rural interstates outside of the Chicago and Metro-East St. Louis metropolitan areas. In those metropolitan areas, the speed limit for trucks and cars will remain at 55 mph. Currently, the speed limit is set 10 mph lower than for trucks than for cars, which critics say creates an unsafe "split speed limit."

HB 3956 previously passed the Illinois House by a vote of 77-35 in March, so the bill now moves to Gov. Pat Quinn for his consideration.

The passage of HB 3956 marks the fourth time in six years that the Illinois Legislature has approved for uniform speed limits. Impeached governor Blagojevich vetoed the bill the first three times. It's not clear where Gov. Quinn stands, says Don Schaefer with the Mid-West Truckers Association.

"We have asked several times, but did not receive any particular indication," Schaefer says. "Gov. Quinn has said he is sympathetic to the industry's issues, but that doesn't translate into a guarantee that he will sign the bill. We will be generating an informational campaign to get truckers involved in calling the governor's office, urging him to sign the bill into law."

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association has also been a big supporter of the bill, saying that having vehicles travel at or near the same speed minimizes the need for passing, lane changes, tailgating, and other maneuvers that create opportunities for drivers to make mistakes.

State Senator John Sullivan (D-Rushville) and State Representative David Reis (R-Olney) sponsored the legislation in their respective chambers. Sullivan told OOIDA that he is optimistic about getting the governor's signature.

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