70 mph speeds in Illinois a couple of weeks away

By Keith Goble, Land Line state legislative editor | 12/27/2013

The New Year in Illinois will bring a change in how fast truckers and others can travel on certain roadways.

Effective Wednesday, Jan. 1, the speed limit can be raised from 65 mph to 70 mph on rural four-lane highways and most portions of the Illinois Tollway. However, the Illinois Department of Transportation says all the signs reflecting the change on affected roadways won’t be posted until the middle of the month.

State officials ask travelers to wait until new signage is installed before driving the new speed limit.

Illinois becomes the 28th state to allow all drivers to travel at least 70 mph, according to the Governors Highway Safety Association.

“This limited 5 miles-per-hour increase will bring Illinois’ rural interstate speed limits in line with our neighbors and the majority of states across America,” Gov. Pat Quinn said in a previous news release.

The number of highways where new speeds are authorized could change. Cook and the “collar” counties surrounding Chicago, and Madison and St. Clair counties outside of St. Louis can opt out of the rule change.

Quinn said the opt-out option allows counties to make adjustments based on their own local needs.

Trucks will continue to be limited to 55 mph on the northern portion of the Tri-State Tollway, and an eight-mile segment of Interstate 88 in Kane County extending west of state Route 47 to the DeKalb County line.

The new law also lowers the threshold by 5 mph for speeding violations to increase from a petty offense to a misdemeanor. Specifically, speeding 26-35 mph above the speed limit – down from 31-40 mph – would be a Class B misdemeanor. Exceeding the posted speed by more than 35 mph – down from 40 mph – would be a Class A misdemeanor.

Quinn urged all drivers to continue to respect traffic laws, avoid distractions and use common sense behind the wheel.

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