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Oberweis seeks to raise state's speed limit to 70 mph

Published: Wednesday, April 24, 2013 5:59 p.m. CST

Legislation is on its way to the House of Representatives that, if passed, would increase the speed limit on Illinois interstates and tollways to 70 mph.

State Sen. Jim Oberweis, R-Sugar Grove, sponsored the bill along with Transportation Committee Chairman Martin Sandoval, D-Cicero. The legislation passed the Senate on Tuesday, and will go on to the House of Representatives and will likely be voted on next month.

Oberweis said he introduced the legislation because at 65 mph, the state's speed limits are not in line with those in many other states.

"Right now, you can drive from Illinois to Florida and not drive under 70 miles per hour, except for in Illinois," he said.

He noted that 34 states have speed limits of 70 mph or higher. He said many motorists disregard the 65-mph speed limit already and it would be beneficial to take what he called a widely disregarded law off the books.

"It would a benefit to travelers to save a little bit of time while staying within the law, and businesses might be able to operate more efficiently," he said.

According to a news release, all states that surround Illinois except for Wisconsin have speed limits of 70 mph. The release also states that 15 states have speed limits of 75 mph and one state has a speed limit of 85 mph.

The Illinois State Police requested that the bill enhance public safety by lowering the threshold for speeding penalties, the release states. Speeding in excess of 26 mph, but less than 35 mph, is still a Class B misdemeanor. Speeding in excess of 35 mph, rather than the current threshold of 40 mph, would result in a Class A misdemeanor.

Oberweis said the law would only apply to interstate highways and toll roads, not two-lane state highways.

Language in the legislation allows the collar counties, Cook County, Madison County and St. Clair County to opt out of the higher speed limit.

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