Illinois on verge of authorizing uniform speeds on more roadways

By Keith Goble, Land Line state legislative editor | 5/9/2011

At the encouragement of truckers, the Illinois Legislature has taken the next step toward uniform speeds on roadways in the state. OOIDA leadership says Illinois truckers should be congratulated for their years of hard work pushing lawmakers to rid the state of speed limit differentials.

Since 2009, Illinois law has authorized trucks to travel 65 mph on rural, interstate highways – the same speed as smaller vehicles.

The House voted 82-29 on Friday, May 6, to approve a bill that would expand the 65 mph speed limit for cars and trucks to include four-lane, divided highways outside of the Chicago area. The bill – SB1913 – now moves to Gov. Pat Quinn’s desk. Senate lawmakers have already approved it by unanimous consent.

Two years ago, Quinn signed into law the uniform speed bill on rural interstates. This year’s version would include U.S. and state highways outside of Chicago and the five surrounding “collar” counties.

Sen. John Sullivan, D-Rushville, sponsor of the 2009 law, said he brought the issue back to the statehouse this year to make the change more far-reaching.

“After I passed that initial legislation I went home to my district, and I realized there is a divided highway that runs through the heart of my district that wasn’t included in the legislation,” Sullivan recently told Land Line. “That’s when I decided we need to come back and work on this some more.”

OOIDA Executive Vice President Todd Spencer says the 2009 law was a major step toward improving safety on Illinois roadways. This year’s version moves the state closer to the goal of uniform speeds on all roadways in the state.

“There is no scenario where a policy to set different speed limits would make any safety sense,” Spencer said.

The Association has issued multiple Calls to Action encouraging Illinois truckers to contact lawmakers about the bill. Truckers now are encouraged to contact the governor to urge his support.

“The governor needs to know this is an important issue that needs to be acted on,” Spencer said.

To view other legislative activities of interest for Illinois, click here.

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