Governor vetoes effort to end split speed limit in Illinois

| 8/13/2004

For the second year in a row Illinois legislators have the chance to override a veto by Gov. Rod Blagojevich and bring an end to split speed limits on the state’s rural interstates.

On Thursday, Blagojevich vetoed a bill that would eliminate the provision that set up slower speed limits on rural interstates for vehicles weighing more than 8,000 pounds. Currently, those vehicles are required to travel 10 mph below the 65 mph speed limit for other vehicles. If approved, SB2374 would permit all vehicles to drive 65 mph on rural interstates.

Blagojevich has said he fears that faster trucks would mean bloodier accidents because the force of impact is stronger the faster a vehicle is traveling, The Associated Press reported.

OOIDA and other trucking industry officials have fought for the bill’s passage. They cite federal statistics showing that split speed limits actually lead to more accidents.

“It’s unfortunate and irresponsible for the governor to have taken this action,” said Todd Spencer, executive vice president of OOIDA. “Obviously he’s getting bad information that will play itself out on Illinois’ highways in the lives and injuries of motorists. We certainly hope the Legislature moves swiftly to override his ill-advised veto.”

The measure to abolish the split speed limit passed the Illinois House May 18 by a vote of 81-37; it had already passed the Senate by a vote of 37-15 on March 4. Both of those tallies included more than the two-thirds necessary to override a veto. However, despite similar majorities last year on a nearly identical bill – HB1186 – many lawmakers changed their votes when asked to override the veto, and the bill died.

Supporters of this year’s version will likely make an override attempt when lawmakers return to the state Capitol in November.