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Illinois legislators have recently been pushing a proposal to increase the speed limit to 70 mph on some interstates outside of Lake County. While the legislation has stalled for now, the plan to boost speeds hasn't been stopped, despite the protests of road safety advocates.

Though the plan has been approved by a Senate committee, it isn't expected to be voted on by the full Senate until 2011. If approved by the legislature and signed by the governor, the new law would raise interstate highway speed limits by five miles per hour outside of Cook, DuPage, Kane, Will, Lake and McHenry.

The new law would bring Illinois in line with 34 other states, including Missouri and Iowa.

Is 70 mph Really Safe?

State Senator Doug Risinger, a civil engineer with the Illinois Department of Transportation, is the bill's main sponsor. He told WFLD TV that drivers are safely going 70 mph or more on Illinois interstates where the top speed is posted at 65 mph now.

Critics say that if the speed limits are raised to 70 mph, those drivers now going 70 to 75 mph will be going 75 to 80 mph - too fast to be safe. A spokesperson for AAA told the TV station that injuries and fatalities sustained in car crashes rise as speed limits go up.

A 2009 report in the American Journal of Public Health supports that position. The study showed that the national trend of increasing speed limits caused the deaths of an estimated 12,500 people over a 10-year period.

Congress set a national speed limit of 55 mph in 1974 as part of efforts to reduce fossil fuel consumption. That limit was rescinded in 1995 and speed limits have since gone up in every state - and so have injuries and fatalities caused by car accidents, said the researchers.

The rise in injuries and deaths in traffic crashes is counterintuitive, researchers stated in their report, given the advent of airbags and other safety innovations in cars and trucks since 1974.

Family Protection

If you or a family member has been injured due to someone else's wrongdoing in a car accident or crash involving a truck or other motor vehicle, contact an Illinois personal injury attorney. A personal injury lawyer can assess the facts of your case and help you receive compensation due you for medical bills, lost wages, property damage and pain and suffering.

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