Supporters of the effort to end Illinois’ split speed limit
plan to attempt to override the governor’s veto, a Senate staff member told Land
The Senate staff member said that Sen. George Shadid,
D-Pekin, the primary sponsor of the measure, SB2374, would call the bill during
the first week of the veto session, Nov. 8, 9 and 10. The vote will likely
occur in the Senate on Nov. 9 or 10.
The bill’s chances look good. Both the Senate and House
votes on it this year were more than the two-thirds necessary to override Gov.
Rod Blagojevich’s veto, which drew an immediate reaction from the
Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association.
“It’s unfortunate and irresponsible for the governor to have
taken this action,” Todd Spencer, executive vice president of OOIDA, said after
the veto. “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.”
And it looks like that’s exactly what is about to happen.
Sen. John Sullivan,
D-Quincy, a co-sponsor of the measure told Land Line earlier this year
that the bill’s chances are “pretty good.”
“I think that there were some concerns last year, basically
safety types of concerns, that were part of the discussion when it was brought
up for the override” he said. “Then there was some more information, some more
research that came out during the discussion this year, when we reintroduced
“I think that most of those fears have been taken of,” he
said. “I would have to say I feel pretty confident that this time, that we
would be able to override the veto.”
Sullivan gave much of the credit to Shadid, a powerful
figure in Illinois and a supporter of eliminating split speeds.
“He’s worked on the bill last year and again this year, and
he’s had really a lot of bipartisan support,” he said.
and other trucking industry officials also fought for passage the bill, citing
federal statistics showing that split speed limits lead to more accidents.
opposition forces, including the AAA Chicago Motor Club and the Illinois State
Police, lined up to speak against the measure.
SB2374 cleared the Senate by a vote of 37-15 on March 4. It
gained approval in the House with a vote of 81-37 on May 18. It would eliminate provisions in Illinois law that set up a
slower, 55 mph speed limit for any vehicle over 8,000 pounds traveling on rural
interstates. Other vehicles on those roads can travel 65 mph; all speed limits
would remain 55 mph in urban areas.
The governor’s veto message, issued Aug. 18, included a
“Last year, the General Assembly presented the same
legislation for my review,” the governor wrote. “I studied the issues involved
and for safety reasons, I vetoed that bill. I am unaware of any change in the
safety issues I considered last year. I remain opposed to increasing the speed
limit to 65 miles per hour for these large trucks.”
– By Mark H. Reddig, associate editor