Illinois governor vetoes reduced speed differential

By Keith Goble, Land Line state legislative editor | 8/14/2014

Gov. Pat Quinn has nixed an effort to reduce the speed limit differential on certain Chicago-area roadways. He cited concerns about allowing large trucks to drive faster.

Since Jan. 1, the speed limit on rural interstate highways in Cook and the “collar” counties surrounding Chicago is 70 mph for cars and 55 mph for trucks. Previously, car speeds were set at 65 mph.

The governor vetoed a bill on Monday, Aug. 11, that would have permitted trucks on affected roadways to drive 60 mph.

“Increased speeds on urban interstate highways for trucks will result in the increased loss of human life,” Quinn wrote in a veto message to lawmakers. He said speed also exacerbates the size and weight differences between large trucks and passenger vehicles, leading to more severe crashes.

Quinn cited two recent crashes involving trucks that injured and killed state troopers parked along roadsides.

The governor also referred to a separate incident that occurred in July. An Indiana truck driver traveling in a work zone on Interstate 55 south of Joliet, Ill., struck three vehicles, killing five people. Trucker Francisco Espinal Quiroz is charged with speeding and violating hours-of-service regulations.

Bill supporters, including Sen. Jim Oberweis, R-Sugar Grove, previously said the interstates were designed for the higher rate of speed. Others say since car speeds were increased the first of the year, the state should follow suit to update truck speeds.

The House and Senate can consider the bill this fall during a scheduled veto session. A three-fifths majority would be needed to override the veto. During the regular session SB930 passed through the statehouse with unanimous consent.

Quinn urged lawmakers to stand with him in his decision to veto the bill.

“The convenience of increased speeds for truckers on roadways does not outweigh the safety risks to children, families, and our dedicated public servants.”

OOIDA leadership says it’s imperative for road safety that any changes made to driving speeds promote uniformity.

The Association’s Executive Vice President Todd Spencer says requiring trucks to drive at speeds slower than other vehicles does not promote safety, but does just the opposite by requiring vehicles to be constantly in conflict with each other. 

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