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Oberweis on speed limit: All we’re doing is recognizing reality

Published: Saturday, May 25, 2013 5:30 a.m. CDT

Motorists might be able to legally drive a little faster on Illinois interstates and tollways should Gov. Pat Quinn approve a measure that would raise speed limits to 70 mph.

State Sen. Jim Oberweis, R-Sugar Grove, sponsored the legislation and said he’s hopeful that Quinn will pass it into law.

“I certainly hope that the governor would recognize the small step that Illinois is coming into the 21st Century,” Oberweis said. “I think it’s the right thing for our state to do.”

All the states that surround Illinois except for Wisconsin have speed limits of 70 mph, according to a news release.

In total, 34 states have speed limits of 70 mph or higher, 15 states have speed limits of 75 mph and one state has a speed limit of 85 mph.

The House of Representatives approved the legislation earlier this week after the Senate passed it in late April.

Oberweis said raising the speed limit is popular and said about 75 percent of Illinois citizens support the increase.

He said that most motorists in the state already drive faster than the 65 mph speed limit.

“It’s bad to have a law on the books that’s so widely ignored,” Oberweis said. “Really, all we’re doing is recognizing reality, not creating a new reality.”

The Illinois State Police have 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, still is 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 one argument against changing the speed limit is that it could cause more accidents and fatalities.

However, he said a study he saw after Indiana raised its speed limit a few years ago showed that accidents and fatalities did not increase.

“Allowing law-abiding citizens to drive 70 without feeling like breaking the law is right,” he said.

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