Illinois State Police weigh in on interstate speed limit increase

By WEEK Producer

August 20, 2013 Updated Aug 20, 2013 at 7:47 PM CDT

PEORIA, Ill. -- While many drivers are eagerly anticipating increased speed limits on Illinois interstates, the tone may be a little different with police officers.

On Monday, Governor Pat Quinn signed a bill that increases the speed limit from 65 mph to 70 mph on rural highways.

The increase will bring Illinois' rural interstate speed limits in line with neighboring states.

State Trooper Dustin Pierce said fatal crashes in central Illinois are up from last year.

While he did not say whether he was for or against the speed limit change, he did say high rates of speed usually play a large part in those fatal crashes.

"If motorists are traveling 10 mph over the posted speed limit of 65, they are only actually saving about three minutes per ten miles as they are traveling down the roadway,” said Trooper Pierce. “That time is not worth the risk they are putting themselves in."

Eight counties near the city of Chicago are allowed to opt out of the 7 mph limit.

The new speed limit takes effect January 1, 2014.