Last year, Illinois raised the speed limit to 70 mph on downstate interstates and, in 2015, the increased speed limit will apply for Chicago-area interstates under the Illinois Tollway Authority’s control. The bill was sponsored by Senator Jim Oberweis (R-Sugar Grove), who contended the law will reduce crashes and improve safety by bringing the posted speed limit in line with the speed at which most motorists are already driving on the tollways. Oberweis and other advocates cited research and studies showing that a higher speed differential between those drivers obeying the speed limit and those driving at higher speeds leads to more serious crashes. According to this article, traffic studies done by the Illinois Tollway Authority and other groups have found speeds on most segments of Illinois interstates average approximately 70 mph. “The academic studies show us it’s the variation in (vehicle) speeds is what causes accidents,” explained Oberweis. “This will be a step in the right direction.” Although the law takes effect in 2015, according to the Chicago Tribune, “drivers shouldn’t expect to legally hit the gas right away, as there is a process the tollway must follow before speeds can be raised. The Tollway must conduct traffic engineering studies that could take up to a year, plus the Tollway board and state officials must approve. That means it could be well into 2016 before drivers notice road signs displaying the higher speed limits.” “There are multiple steps in the process,” Tollway spokeswoman Wendy Abrams said. A separate measure that takes effect this year will increase the speed limit for large trucks from 55 mph to 60 mph on interstates in Cook County and suburban counties outside heavily populated areas. Former Illinois Governor Pat Quinn had sought to block the law after a deadly crash on Interstate 55 in which an Indiana truck driver was accused of speeding through a construction zone, but lawmakers rejected his veto. Under the new truck speed limit law, the maximum speed is 60 mph for big rigs traveling in Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry and Will counties on highways outside urban areas, but the trucker speed limit stay 55 mph on all other Chicago-area highways. It is important for drivers to remember that just because you can drive 70 mph on Illinois interstates that doesn’t necessarily mean that you should, especially when the road conditions are poor or traffic is heavy. When driving on snowy or icy roads, you should reduce your speed and allow plenty of room between your vehicle and the vehicle in front of you. If you or a loved one were injured in a car accident, you should consult with a car accident lawyer as soon as possible. The Chicago auto accident lawyers at Steinberg, Goodman & Kalish are dedicated to helping the victims of car accidents obtain maximum financial recovery for their injuries, including medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, emotional distress, and disability. We will advise you of your legal rights and guide you through the entire claim process. Contact Steinberg, Goodman & Kalish at (312) 782-1386 to schedule a free consultation with one of our Chicago car accident lawyers. Additional Information:
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