Safety groups raise alarms about proposed speed limit increase

A proposal to increase the speed limit on Illinois' interstate to 75 mph has raised safety concerns.

A proposal has been put forward by one Illinois lawmaker to raise the speed limit on rural interstates and highways in Illinois by 5 mph, according to the Peoria Journal-Star. The proposal, which is currently being considered by the Illinois Senate, would increase the speed limit to 75 mph on most interstates in Illinois. Backers of the proposal argue that increasing the speed limit will lead to shorter commute times. Opponents, however, say that Illinois already suffers from a higher rate of speed-related fatal motor vehicle accidents when compared to its neighbors and they warn an increase in the speed limit would only cause more deaths.

Increasing the speed limit

The proposal would increase the maximum speed limit on the interstate system outside of the Chicago area from 70 mph to 75 mph. It would also increase the speed limit on rural highways that are not interstates and which have fewer than four lanes of traffic from 55 to 60 mph. The proposal comes after Illinois already increased speed limits on its interstates in 2014, from 65 to 70 mph.

Supporters of the increased speed limit argue that most drivers on the interstate are already driving 75 mph anyway. They also argue that increasing the speed limit would mean that traffic would be flowing at the same rate, rather than having some cars speeding in and out of traffic. Mainly, however, most of the support for the increased speed limit is for the time drivers could save by going faster.

Higher speeds lead to more deaths

Safety groups, such as the AAA, are opposed to the idea of another increase to the state's speed limit. As CBS Chicago reports, in the past two years 39 percent of traffic fatalities in Illinois were due to speed. That rate is well above what neighboring states experience and far above the national average of 28 percent. Data from the Institute for Highway Safety also shows that a 5 mph increase to the speed limit leads to an 8 percent increase in traffic fatalities.

Groups opposed to the speed limit increase also point out that justifying a speed limit increase because most drivers already break the current limit is a flimsy argument. They say that if the speed limit were increased many drivers who were breaking the old speed limit would simply view the increase as permission to drive even faster.

Motor vehicle accidents

Anybody who has been hurt in a motor vehicle accident should get in touch with a personal injury attorney immediately. In many cases, those hurt in an accident are entitled to financial compensation, especially if the accident was caused by another driver's carelessness or recklessness. A personal injury attorney can help clients pursue whatever compensation they may be entitled to as a result of their accident.