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House Sends 70mph Bill To Governor

Joe Shlabotnik via Flickr

The Illinois House has voted to raise Illinois' top speed limit to 70 miles-per-hour. Currently, cars and trucks are limited to 65 miles-an-hour on most Illinois highways.

Opponents warned that raising the speed limit would result in more accidents. But the bill's sponsor, Democratic Representative Jerry Costello, from Smithton, says more accidents happen because of vehicles traveling at different speeds — not because of higher speeds.

"If cars are driving at 70 miles-an-hour on average, someone who's doing 60 has a higher propensity of being in an accident than someone who's doing 80," Costello says. "So actually the slower-moving traffic causes most of the accidents."

Costello says 34 states have a top speed limit of 70 or higher. Cook and the collar counties would be allowed to opt-out of the higher speed limit. The measure passed on a vote of 85 to 30.

It's already passed the Senate, so it now goes to Governor Pat Quinn. A spokeswoman would only say Quinn will "carefully review the bill."

Brian Mackey formerly reported on state government and politics for NPR Illinois and a dozen other public radio stations across the state. Before that, he was A&E editor at The State Journal-Register and Statehouse bureau chief for the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin.
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