Illinois Governor Quinn Vetos Bill That Would Raise Truck Driver Speed Limit

The Chicago Tribune reported this week that Illinois Governor Quinn used his veto powers to overrule a bill that would raise the speed limits for semitrailer trucks from 55 mph to 60 mph on interstates in Chicago and the surrounding area. The bill, which was sponsored by Sen. Jim Oberweis, passed the House 114-0 and the Senate 58-0.  Oberweis said the bill was designed to reduce the differential between cars going 70 mph and trucks limited to 55 mph.

“It would make the roads safer,” said Oberweis, who is challenging Democratic U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin this fall. “There would be only a 10 mph differential rather than 15.”

Quinn’s responded by stating that this was all about driver safety:  “no amount of fines, penalties or jail time can ever replace the lives of those whom we have lost to fatal accidents on our interstate highways,” Quinn said.

Citing the recent traffic deaths tied to big trucks traveling at high speeds, Quinn said, “The convenience of increased speeds for truckers on roadways does not outweigh the safety risks to children, families and our dedicated public servants.”

Quinn cited a July 21 truck crash on Interstate 55 near Arsenal Road in the southwest suburbs. An Indiana trucker, Francisco Espinal Quiroz, 51, of Leesburg, Ind., allegedly was speeding in a work zone when his truck slammed into three vehicles, killing 5 people. He has been charged with falsifying duty logbooks used to verify that a driver is not spending too many hours on the road without rest.

I think the Governor was correct in his decision here. Obviously the Chicagoland area is one of the most congested areas with traffic and trucks make up a big percentage of that congestion. Semitrailer trucks, if not driven properly or at a safe speed, can be prone to traffic accidents. Further, the results of a truck accident can prove much more deadly than regular vehicles based on the size of a semitrailer. I do not believe Governor Quinn was overstepping his boundaries as Governor in this situation.

If or someone you love has been injured in a Chicago truck accident or Chicago car accident, then call Chicago personal injury lawyer, Aaron Bryant, for a free legal consultation at 312-614-1076.

Studies Show Speed Related Accidents Have Increased

Consumer Reports magazine published an article this month
about a study prepared by the Governors Highway Safety Associated (GHSA), which
concluded that speed related car accident fatalities have been on the rise the
past seven years. Despite substantial decreased in alcohol related fatalities
(down 24% since 1985) and traffic fatalities due to not wearing a seat belt
(down 57% since 1985), traffic fatalities due to excessive speeding has been on
the rise since 2005.  According to the study there have been 12,000 traffic fatalities due to speeding over the last 10 years.

This is an area of
traffic safety that I have not discussed on this blog very much in the past.
The main focus by the government (and this blog) over the past few years has
been on distracted driving and state and federal bans on texting and driving.
Has the government dropped the ball on the dangers of excessive speeding. In
Illinois, I would have to say not entirely. It is important to point out that
starting in 2011 in Illinois if a driver plead guilty or was convicted for
speeding 30 miles per hour over the speed limit, it was considered a
misdemeanor and Court supervision was not allowed. These tickets are often
amended to make them supervision eligible, but regardless, Illinois has made
some steps to curb excessive and dangerous speeding.

What does the GHSA
recommend to decrease speeding related traffic fatalities?  Below is a
list of recommendations:

States should: 

  • Look into speed concerns through aggressive driving
    enforcement, since the public believes it’s a more serious threat to
  • Target speed enforcement in school and work zones, as
    this has higher public support and viewed as less controversial.

NHTSA should: 

  • Sponsor a national high-visibility enforcement campaign
    and support public awareness efforts to address speeding and aggressive
  • Promote best practices in automated enforcement
    strategies. Only 14 states allow automated speed enforcement and only two
    allow it everywhere in the state.
  • Sponsor a National Forum on Speeding and Aggressive
    Driving to bring experts together to develop a plan and share information.
If you or someone you love has been involved in a Chicago car accident or a Chicago traffic death then call Chicago personal injury attorney Aaron Bryant for a free consultation at 312-588-3384 or go to the firm website at