Illinois Governor Pat Quinn signed a new law to increase the speed limit from 65 to 70 mph (105 to 113 km/h) on rural four-lane highways, and to lower the limit by five mph for excessive speeding. A study by researchers at Oak Ridge National Laboratory found that increasing a vehicle’s speed from 60 to 70 mph results in an average 14% decrease in fuel economy. (Earlier post.)
36 other states have speed limits of 70 mph or higher on some portion of their roadways, including other large states such as California, Florida, Texas and Ohio, and neighboring states such as Indiana, Kentucky, Missouri, Iowa and Michigan. The bill passed with bipartisan support in both chambers.
Sponsored by State Senator Jim Oberweis (R-Sugar Grove) and State Representative Jerry Costello Jr. (D-Smithton), Senate Bill 2356 increases the maximum speed limit from 65 to 70 mph on four-lane divided highways outside of urban areas. The law allows Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake, Madison, McHenry, St. Clair and Will Counties to opt-out by adopting an ordinance that sets a lower maximum speed limit, empowering counties to make adjustments based on their own local needs.
The new law also includes an additional safety provision, which lowers the limit by five mph at which drivers may be charged by law enforcement with excessive speeding. Currently, the threshold for penalties is 31 mph over the limit. The new law lowers that threshold to 26 mph over the limit to increase safety on Illinois roads.
The law is effective 1 January 2014.
The 36 other states with speed limits of 70 mph or higher, are Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, and Wyoming.