Higher Speed Limit: Good for business, but bad for safety? - FOX 10 News | fox10phoenix.com

Higher Speed Limit: Good for business, but bad for safety?

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

The bill that would raise the speed limit on Illinois highways to 70 miles an hour is in the fast lane to Governor Quinn.

Supporters say it's good for business as truckers will be able to deliver their loads more quickly, but State police and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety say every additional mile an hour increases the risk of fatal crashes.

Truckers are the backbone of the domestic shipping industry and they are some of the biggest proponents of raising the maximum speed limit in Illinois to 70 miles per hour because unlike cars, which can currently do 65 in the rural areas, trucks can only go 55.

Jerry Hensely owns Bronco Logisits in Elk Grove Village. He specializes in priority shipping usually to locations within 600 miles.

Increasing the speed limit means his drivers can travel an extra 165 miles each day, increasing efficiency and lowering costs.

"Ran correctly it's a very safe increase in the speed limit and overall it's just going to increase the economy unbelievably," Hensley says. "It just helps everyone in general from the owners like myself to the drivers who are turning their paychecks back into the economy and ultimately the general public because their money's out there in the economy."

It would also put Illinois more in line with the rest of the country where maximum speed limits are at 70 in most Midwest and southern states, and 75 or faster out west.

But faster speeds do mean more frequent fill-ups. Say, for example, your car, at 55 miles per hour, gets 30 miles per gallon. At 65, it drops to about 27.5 mpg, and at 70, you're down to 25 miles per gallon and it keeps dropping the faster you go.

For the trucking industry, the time savings outweighs in the increased fuel costs, but for the average driver, 65 to 70 might not change things much.

"I think there will be less people maybe getting pulled over, but I mean generally, if you're following traffic it's going at least that fast if it's 65 miles an hour most people are going 75 or 80," Sue Oefelein says.

A spokeswoman for Governor Quinn said he will review the bill when it hits his desk, but she offered no indication of which way he may be leaning.


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