It depends on who you talk to.
Governor Pat Quinn recently signed legislation raising the truck speed limit in Illinois outside of Chicago and the surrounding six county area to 65 mph, effective January 1, 2010. As usual, there have been numerous dire predictions of the results of this change. First, there’s the normal bureaucratic butt-covering by the Illinois DOT and State Police. If their predictions of gloom and doom don’t come true, who’ll care? If they do (which in my opinion is highly unlikely), they can then point their fingers and say "we told you so". AAA is predicting an additional 115 fatalities. Again, if their predictions don’t come to pass, will there be any huge public outcry? I think not. Personally, I don’t expect to see much change one way or the other.
In my opinion, I think the change to a 65 mph truck limit in Illinois is long overdue. I can’t count the number of times I’ve seen cars there do some really dangerous things to pass slow moving trucks. Study after study has shown that all traffic moving at a more or less uniform speed is safer than traffic with (relatively) large variations in speed.
The increase in speed limits will also let trucks cover more miles in a shorter time. On a trip from the southern part of the state to Chicago, this will shave off around 3/4 of an hour. Going across the state will save around 1/2 hour. Shortening driving time is a good thing. For truck drivers, less time on the road means more time available for rest.
It’ll be interesting to see what actually happens in the end.
Here’s your chance to impress all of IB’s readers with your prognosticating prowess. Dust off your crystal ball, read your tea leaves, throw your yak bones, or whatever method you care to try, and make your own prediction. Post your pronouncement with your premonitory prophesy as a comment, and sometime in 2011, I’ll revisit this story, and we’ll see how things really went.