Illinois' speed limit would increase to 70 miles per hour (mph), under legislation sponsored by Senator Jim Oberweis and Transportation Committee Chairman Martin Sandoval of Cicero and passed April 23 by the Illinois Senate.
During debate, the Senator Oberweis was subjected to the good-natured ribbing that all freshmen Senators are traditionally subjected to by their legislative colleagues when their first bill comes before the Senate for a vote. His Senate Bill 2356 is cosponsored by 29 other Senators.
“This is a bipartisan, good-government bill, which would allow the maximum speed limit on tollways and interstate highways to increase to 70 mph – to bring Illinois in line with most of the rest of the country,” Senator Oberweis said. “The interstates were designed for a higher rate of speed, and currently, there are 34 states with speed limits of 70 mph or higher. All of Illinois’ neighboring states, except Wisconsin, have speed limits of 70 mph. Fifteen states have speed limits of 75 mph and one state has a speed limit of 85 mph.”
At the request of the Illinois State Police, Senate Bill 2356 provides public safety enhancements in the form of a lowered threshold upon which the penalty for speeding is increased from a petty offense to a misdemeanor.
The change in Senate Bill 2356 means that speeding in excess of 26 miles per hour but less than 35 mph (currently 31-40 mph) is a Class B misdemeanor. Speeding in excess of 35 mph (currently 40 mph) would be a Class A misdemeanor.
Senate Bill 2356 also allows Cook County, the collar counties, Madison County and St. Clair County to opt out of the higher speed limit via ordinance.
Passed by a 41-6-1 vote, Senate Bill 2356 now moves to the House of Representatives for further consideration.