Illinois raises rural interstate speed limit

Taking the most direct route is key when drivers need to make pickups and deliveries on a set schedule. However, speed can also play a role in getting vehicles to their destinations on time, as long as drivers aren't going too fast to be considered a hazard to traffic or wasting fuel in their attempts to complete runs.

Changes coming for drivers that pass through Illinois
Companies that complete runs through the Midwest may soon find drivers are able to get around a little more quickly, as Illinois Governor Pat Quinn recently approved legislation that would increase the state's speed limit. While rural interstates in Illinois previously had a speed limit of 65 mph, this was recently bumped up to 70 mph. The new limit will take effect Jan. 1, 2014 and keeps Illinois in line with 36 other states that all permit vehicles to travel at speeds of 70 mph or higher.

While the limit would increase in rural areas, several more urbanized counties would be permitted to opt out of the change and keep speed limits at 65 mph. These include counties in the Chicago area.

"This limited 5 mph increase will bring Illinois' rural interstate speed limits in line with our neighbors' and the majority of states across America, while preventing an increase in excessive speeding," Quinn said.

Impacts more than timeliness
While heightened speed limits may allow drivers to arrive at their destinations in a more timely fashion, they also have other repercussions that need to be considered by fleet managers, dispatchers and executive teams.

One of these changes may be fewer traffic citations and, subsequently, higher Compliance, Safety and Accountability (CSA) scores. As speed limits jump, drivers will now be in accordance with the law when they reach speeds above 65 mph in rural areas of Illinois, meaning drivers will be at a lower risk of receiving tickets for speeding.

While a lower risk for costly citations is a benefit, there is a potential drawback associated with the switch - higher fuel costs. A 70 mph speed limit means drivers will be traveling faster, thus increasing their fuel consumption and the number of fill-ups necessary - something that in turn forces companies to spend more. By setting a policy that requires drivers to stay under a certain speed limit, regardless of what a state's limit is, or implementing the use of route optimization software, a fleet management team can trim expenses in light of these new laws.