Will Illinois’ New Toll Road Speed Limit Really Improve Safety?

Illinois legislators recently voted to override the governor’s veto of a 70 mph speed limit on the state’s toll roads. However, according to the Associated Press, it may be some time before new signs start popping up along the highway. The Illinois Tollway Authority still has to conduct studies to determine if the increase in speed is warranted.

Perhaps they should also take into account if the increase is safe. Vehicles driving at high rates of speed can pose a threat on the roads, as Chicago accident lawyers know all too well. The possible should be strictly evaluated to determine if it is the best idea for keeping motorists safe.

Speed and safety

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that motor vehicle accidents are a leading cause of injury in the U.S., sending 2.5 million Americans to the emergency room every year. Speeding has long been held as one of the top factors that results in a car crash. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that speed plays a role in roughly one-third of all incidents.

According to the Quad-City Times, tollway officials, the Illinois Department of Transportation and the Illinois State Police all opposed the higher speed limits. When the governor vetoed the measure, he stated that higher speed threatens the lives of not only those behind the wheel, but also public safety workers.

Conflicting studies

Advocates for higher speed limits claim that they actually improve safety on the road. For example, in 1995 after the U.S. Congress repealed the national maximum speed limit of 55 miles per hour, many highways increased the limit. A study published by the National Motorists Association assessed the safety of the initiative. Researchers found that following the increase, the national fatality rate across all roads reached an all-time low. The study took into account the fact that more traffic may have moved from side roads and onto the freeway.

Higher speed limits may cause fewer accidents, but as Chicago accident lawyers have seen, however, they can result in more devastating crashes. When looking specifically at just the freeways where the speed limit is raised, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety found there were more and more serious accidents that took place.

Crash prevention

Regardless of the new speed limit, it is imperative for drivers to obey traffic laws. People who drive recklessly are more likely to cause an accident that could result in serious injury and even death. Experts suggest that keeping with the flow of traffic decreases the odds of causing a crash.

Anyone with questions regarding the new speed limit on the toll roads should consult with Chicago accident lawyers.