Safety Group Opposes Ill. Senate Bill that Increases Truck Speed Limits

October 4, 2007

A safety group is speaking out about the what they say are the dangers of the override of Illinois SB 540, which allows large tractor-trailer trucks to travel on rural, four-lane highways at the same speed limits as passenger vehicles.

“The bill jeopardizes the safety of all of Illinois roadway users. Illinois had made significant strides in improving road safety, but yesterday’s override of the Governor’s veto by the Illinois Senate was a significant step backward. We urge the Illinois House to sustain the veto as the bill goes to its chamber, AAA Chicago said in a statement

“It’s extremely disappointing that the Illinois Senate chose to ignore
the inherent danger of this bill,” said Brad Roeber, president of AAA
Chicago. “The number of fatal crashes involving large trucks is already on the rise in Illinois, and I’m afraid the risk for even more injuries and fatalities due to truck crashes will be substantially elevated.”

The data on large truck crashes are clear. In 2005 the Illinois
Department of Transportation reported 17,902 crashes involving trucks. More than 2,700 injuries and 191 fatalities resulted from those crashes. That same year, Illinois ranked 6th in the nation in the number of large trucks involved in fatal crashes. Furthermore, the number of fatal crashes involving large trucks in Illinois already increased by 22 percent from 2004 to 2005.

The primary finding on this subject cannot be overlooked: large trucks
take longer to brake and to maneuver in emergency situations. Additionally, neighboring states such as Kentucky, Wisconsin, Missouri and Minnesota, all recently passed similar legislation only to see crashes involving large trucks rise.

“The mountain of evidence against this legislation does not bode well
for the safety of Illinois roadway users,” said Roeber. “We urge all
drivers to fully understand the gravity of this legislation and to admonish your local House representative to sustain this veto.”

Source: AAA Chicago

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