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Truckers Speak Out
I can drive 55

By Woody Chambers–OOIDA Board
Hoffman Estates, IL

After strong lobbying by OOIDA, OOIDA members and yours truly, I was disappointed to see another uniform speed limit bill before the Illinois General Assembly go down in flames. On April 3, Illinois representatives present defeated HB5912 (by a vote of 46 yeas to 72 nays). I was actually optimistic this year that uniform speed limit legislation would make it through. However, I am from Chicago and the rallying cry of all Chicago sports fans is, “wait until next year.”

But why wait? Maybe I have been wrong all this time. I thought my 31 years of safe driving awards were due in part to moving with the flow of traffic, keeping a safe distance between my truck and other traffic and limiting the necessity of frequent lane changes. I guess those two and a half million accident-free miles were just a fluke. Obviously the majority of the Illinois House is smarter than I am. They must be familiar with studies and requirements relating to the safe movement of motor vehicles. Why else would we have voted them into office? Surely they are not victims of big truck hysteria?

Therefore, I am going to change my driving habits in Illinois and any other split speed limit states, immediately. Those that come to mind are California, Michigan and, everybody’s favorite, Ohio. From now on I am going to drive 55, no, 50 mph in Illinois. If a 10-mph differential is safe, a 15 or even 20 mph difference must be safer. The minimum, as I remember, is 45 mph on interstates. Don’t worry, I’ll be going 45 mph. So, feel free to pass whenever you can. Just remember not to exceed the safe and prudent 55 mph limit. I encourage you all to run with me or pass only at 52 or 53 mph to stay well within the posted limits. I also think it is most important that we adhere to these safe speeds on any highway leading into or out of the state capitol, especially when the legislature is in session. That way our elected officials will be able to see that professional truckdrivers are in compliance with their laws. You will be able to identify the lawmakers because they are the ones with the official House or Senate license plates in the hammer lane usually running about 80 mph. No, wait ... there goes my guy tailgating that 18-wheeler passing me at 52 mph!