Illinois General Assembly will soon decide whether to override Gov.
Rod Blagojevich’s veto of HB1186, which would have eliminated the
split speed limit in the state.
which would have cut provisions in Illinois law that set up a slower
speed for vehicles with a gross weight of more than 8,000 pounds,
passed both houses of the state’s General Assembly by wide margins.
A spokeswoman said Blagojevich cited “serious safety concerns” in
vetoing the bill July 28.
General Assembly meets twice this month to consider vetoed bills
and decide whether to pursue an override. The first meeting, scheduled
for Nov. 4, 5 and 6 is now under way; the second is scheduled for
Nov. 18, 19 and 20. HB1186 is on the agenda to be discussed.
governor’s veto initially confounded supporters of the bill.
really wasn’t any testimony to the contrary during the House debate,”
Bill sponsor Rep. Dan Reitz, D-Sparta, said at that time. “I’m not
sure where the governor’s office got their information or who requested
think that vehicles traveling at the same rate of speed irregardless
of what the speed is are safer,” he said. “That was the main motive
for the bill.”
reaction from trucking industry officials was much the same.
clear the governor does not understand the issue,” Todd Spencer,
executive vice president of OOIDA, said. “It’s clear he didn’t give
sufficient thought to his action before he did it.”
the initial reaction to the governor’s veto, supporters of the measure
said they would attempt an override. The effort should succeed,
Reitz said, “Unless anyone had a change of heart.”
pleased that the Legislature is going to consider fixing it,” Spencer
said. “There certainly going to be plenty of truckers and other
professional drivers that will throw their support behind the effort.”
override the veto, 71 votes are needed in the House, 36 in the Senate.
HB1186 received 89 yes votes when it passed the House, 18 more than
needed to override. In the Senate, it received 45, nine more than
are needed to reverse the governor’s action.
forces that opposed the bill have organized opposition to the measure
and any possible override attempt. The AAA Chicago Motor Club issued
a press release Nov. 3 urging legislators to turn away an override
attempt. A similar release was issued before the governor vetoed
latest AAA release again quoted – incorrectly, Land Line found
– figures provided by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
The release contended that NHTSA said “22 percent of all crashes
involving trucks were attributed to excessive speed.”
NHTSA study did say that several factors combined – “a speed limit
of 55 mph or higher, poor weather and a curved road” – could substantially
increase the chances of both a rollover and a jackknife for large
the study did not say 22 percent of large truck wrecks were
caused by truck speeding. Neither did it use the phrase “excessive
speed.” According to NHTSA, among accidents that involved a truck
and another vehicle, officers said the truck was speeding in 22
percent of only those accidents where law enforcement said speeding
was a factor. Cars were speeding in 78 percent of those cases.
of the bill pointed to federal studies and other research that indicates
fewer collisions occur when speeds are uniform.
safety engineers have long recognized that highways are safest when
all vehicles are traveling at the same speed regardless of the speed
limit,” Jim Johnston, president of the Owner-Operator Independent
Drivers Association, wrote in a letter to Blagojevich. “In fact,
the safety research in this area is irrefutable.”
despite calls for passage, the governor’s press secretary said it
was arguments like that made by AAA that swayed Blagojevich against
the review process, he heard from supporters and opponents, and
was very much moved by the fact that a 10 mph increase in an 8,000
pound truck increases its force at impact by 40 percent,” Abby Ottenhoff,
press secretary for the governor, said. “Out of his concern for
safety for cars on the road he vetoed it.”
Mark H. Reddig, associate editor
Reddig can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.