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Controversy Over Veto of Truck Speed Limit Law

A measure that passed unanimously in the Illinois House and Senate was vetoed by Governor Quinn this week. The law would have raised the speed limit for trucks traveling on interstates in Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry and Will counties from 55 miles per hour to 60. The law was positioned as a return to the same speed differential that existed prior to the State raising interstate speed limits for cars on these roads to 70 from 65. Governor Quinn defended the veto on the grounds that higher speed limits have been linked to an increase in fatal traffic accidents in numerous studies.

Governor Quinn cited the July 21 truck accident on Interstate 55 when discussing truck safety. That accident involved a truck that was allegedly speeding in a work zone. It led to five fatalities. The Governor referred to the bill as providing “convenience of increased speed for truckers.” The sponsor of the bill, Senator Jim Oberweis, claims the change “would make the roads safer.” The true safety impact would come down to whether the accidents caused by the increased speed limit were offset by a reduction in crashes caused by the reduced speed differential between trucks and cars.

Source: Chicago Tribune, “Oberweis criticizes Quinn veto of 60 mph trucks bill,” by Ray Long, 12 August 2014

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