Speed Limit Changes


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Opening: Who here exceeds the posted speed limit while driving? If a faster speed limit was allowed, would you still exceed the posted limit? Well, in Illinois, starting January 1st, 2014 you will legally be able to go just a little faster on designated roads. I do not believe this is such a good change. Thesis: I believe that raising the speed limit will cause more accidents and safety issues while increasing the consumption of fuel, which is bad for the environment and economy. Preview: Today I’m going to discuss the negative aspects, causes and solutions to raising the legal speed limit on designated roads. I will share why I do not agree with the new, faster speed limit. Why does it matter: Raising the speed limit can cause more traffic accidents, resulting in more injuries and deaths. The increased speed will consume more fuel creating a negative impact on the environment and economy. The speed limit in Illinois should remain 65 miles per hour as currently posted on the roadways.


I. Negative aspects : “What’s wrong?”

Significant subject: There are numerous problems associated with raising the speed limit. Currently, the legal speed limit is 65 miles per hour on rural four-lane highways. Many people believe it is okay to go about five miles per hour over this posting (The news gazette). Raising the speed limit to 70 miles per hour will have people believe 75 miles per hour is acceptable (Legal Record). Why is it harmful?: Reaction times at increased speeds are reduced for drivers. The ability to avoid an accident or react to a situation while traveling faster creates more dangers to all people, whether they are the driver or passenger. The increase in speed also reduces the operating efficiency of the vehicles, resulting in higher fuel consumption and operating costs. The economy is affected by this lower efficiency and the environment is impacted by the increased production of fuel created by the lower efficiency. The environment is also impacted by cleanup of vehicle fluids that spill during an accident, if they are cleaned up properly at all.

II. Causes : “Why do we have the problem?”

Jerry Costello sponsored a bill to raise the existing speed limit from 65 to 70 miles per hour on rural four-lane highways. The Illinois House and Senate passed the bill and Governor Pat Quinn signed it into law (Chicago Tribune- Clout Street). Governor Quinn said “This limited five mile per hour increase will bring Illinois’ rural interstates speed limit in line with our neighbors and the majority of states across America” (Journal Star). However, the 86 miles per hour speed that motorists can still be charged with excessive speeding, will not change. State Representative Dan Brady disagrees. He believes that higher speed limits lead to higher personal injury (Huffington Post). Studies show 85 percent of the average driver on the interstate drives 72 to 74 miles per hour. He feels the 70 mile per hour speed limit will be abused by anywhere from 5 to 10 miles per hour (Legal Record). Studies show of the 34 states that have the 70 mile per hour speed limit in place, most have higher amounts of injuries and death tolls have risen as high as 9 percent. On average, 12,500 deaths are attributed to increased speed limits (Huffington Post). So far this year, on Illinois roadways, we are up to 855 deaths, and that is before the increased speed limit.

III. Solution: “How can we fix it?”

Procedure: The best way to keep the roadways safe, I believe, is to not alter the speed limit. With this being said, and the new speed limit already signed into law, the only responsible thing we can do at this point is to obey the new limit. Do not exceed the new limit as many people do 0the current limit. Future actions against the increased speed limit could be justified by a repeal of the law based on accidents and environmental impacts. This would require political actions that are not seen in the near future. I believe case studies should be recorded and reported to our government to demonstrate the dangers of the new, higher speed limit. Case Studies: Each state that raised their speed limit to 70 miles per hour experienced an increase in the average amount of deaths each year. Every state with speed limits higher than 65 miles per hour showed an increase in deaths that ranging from 7 percent to 13 percent. The study on the raised speed limit has been conducted for eight years (Huffington Post). In each of these years, the average annual fatalities have been higher since the speed limits were increased (Huffington Post).


I believe that raising the speed limit on rural four-lane highways will cause more accidents and safety issues while increasing the consumption of fuel, which is bad for the environment and economy. The justification for the increase by the government to match the speed limit of our neighboring states is not supported by the data. Case studies prove that the increase in speed is dangerous for both drivers and passengers. The environmental and economic impacts must be considered too. I do not support raising the speed limit and I believe the speed limit should remain 65 miles per hour on rural Illinois highways.

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