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Speed limit in Illinois to raise to 70 mph next year

The speed limit on rural interstate highways in Illinois will be raised to 70 mph next year after Gov. Pat Quinn approved legislation Aug. 19, despite opposition from the Illinois Dept. of Transportation, state police and leading roadway safety organizations.

The speed limit in Illinois is currently 55 mph in metropolitan areas and 65 on rural highways. But on Jan. 1, Illinois will become the 37th state to approve limits of 70 mph or higher.

“This limited 5 miles-per-hour increase will bring Illinois’ rural interstate speed limits in line with our neighbors’ and the majority of states across America, while preventing an increase in excessive speeding,” Quinn said in a statement.

The six-county Chicago region — home to some of the nation’s busiest interstates — would be allowed to set lower speed limits under the law, as would two Illinois counties near St. Louis. The speed limit would increase on the Illinois Tollway but also could be kept at current limits on some stretches, the governor's office said in a Chicago Tribune report.

Opponents argue that higher speeds will lead to an increase in fatalities and make it more difficult for large trucks to stop to avoid collisions.

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