There’s a push in the Illinois legislature to permit drivers to go 70 miles per hour on many interstates outside of Chicago, bringing Illinois in line with 34 other states.
The bill’s sponsor, State Senator Dale Risinger, is a civil engineer with 35 years of experience with the Illinois Department of Transportation. He said interstates were designed to handle a traffic flow travelling at 70 mph.
“If you go out on our interstates today, you will find most people drive comfortably between 70 and 75 miles per hour,” Risinger said.
Illinois State Trooper Sgt. Steve Tufenjkian says drivers need to consider the risks and rewards of such a speed hike.
“The risk is you’re going to have more crashes, more injuries,” Tufenjkian said. “The only positive is you’re going to get to where you’re going a little faster.”
AAA is lobbying against the speed hike.
“When speed limits go up, so do fatalities and so do injuries,” AAA spokeswoman Beth Moser said.
The Federal Highway Administration says that 31 percent of the people killed on the road in 2008 died because they or someone else were driving too fast.
A Senate committee has approved the bill, but the full Senate is not expected to take up the measure until 2011.
GOP Gubernatorial Candidate Bill Brady said he supports raising the speed limit to 70 mph.
Governor Pat Quinn’s staff said he will review the legislation if and when it reaches his desk.