The Illinois legislature recently proposed an increase in the speed limits around the state, and Governor Pat Quinn signed the bill into law in August 2013. This law took the speed limit from 65 miles per hour to 70 miles per hour, allowing for many urban and suburban counties to set their own lower limits should the communities desire to do so. This law was passed with overwhelming approval and took effect January 1, 2014. Although many surrounding states have similar limits, many professional and government agencies oppose these higher limits due to the potential for an increase in more serious car accidents.
About the law
The law led to the eventual increase in speed limits in approximately 98 percent of rural interstates and 87 percent of interstate highways throughout Illinois. The state’s Tollway only saw around 28 percent of its roadway increase to 70 miles per hour. Officials with the Illinois Department of Transportation indicated that these increases will only be found in areas that were previously deemed reasonable and safe. However, both the Secretary of Transportation and the State police opposed the increase due to the increased likelihood of speeding and related accidents.
Research and statistics
According to USA Today, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety is unhappy with the choice Illinois and 36 other states have made to increase the speed limits on their major roadways. A spokesman for the group recently cited the well-known link between speeding and accidents, showing that increased speeds lead to an increase in roadway fatalities.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that speed contributed to 30 percent of the 32,367 fatal car crashes that occurred in the U.S. in 2011. Nationwide, that equates to nearly 10,000 deaths that could have been prevented had drivers been operating their vehicles at lower, more reasonable speeds.
Increased trucking accidents
Many opponents of the law believe there is likely to be an increase in truck-related accidents with the new speeds. Due to their large mass, large commercial trucks require a much larger distance to be able to safely and completely stop. In 2012, nearly half of all two-vehicle truck crashes involved a truck and another vehicle which were heading straight at the time of the accident. Additionally, due to their increased deceleration times, 31 percent of regular drivers fail to stop prior to colliding with these large vehicles in rear-end collisions. Many opposed to the new law believe incidence of these accidents will quickly increase.
Those who have sustained serious injury due to a car accident should contact a Chicago personal injury attorney to discuss their matter. Many accidents require specific knowledge and experience that attorneys can provide to their clients, giving them the best opportunity to recover the greatest amount of compensation possible.