This could be a fun debate here. Let’s consider it our second question of the day. From a press release…
Governor Rod R. Blagojevich’s top transportation officials were joined today by traffic safety and law enforcement advocates in urging legislators to sustain the Governor’s veto of Senate Bill 540, which would have raised the speed limit for trucks in Illinois to 65 miles per hour. The Governor has fought to keep the 55 mph speed limit in place for trucks on Illinois highways for the safety of everyone who travels our roads. During Gov. Blagojevich’s administration fatalities on state roads have dropped by 200 a year, the lowest levels since 1924.
“Raising the speed limit for trucks means more people will die in accidents. It takes a large truck traveling 65 miles per hour 40 percent longer to stop than a truck traveling 55 miles per hour. And that same truck traveling 65 miles per hour has an impact that is 40 percent more destructive than a truck at 55 miles per hour. That’s why I urge the Legislature to sustain my veto of SB 540.” […]
According to AAA and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), when tractor-trailer trucks travel at speed rates of 55 mph or higher, it significantly increases the likelihood the truck will either jackknife or rollover. The vast majority of persons killed in crashes involving trucks are occupants of passenger vehicles, not trucks. […]
In 1996, the year after Missouri increased the speed limit for trucks, it recorded 70 more fatalities caused by large trucks, increasing from 97 to 167. If Illinois had a corresponding 72 percent increase as Missouri did, that could translate to 114 more fatalities in one year.
How do you feel about this one?
* Also, as an aside, that line about how traffic fatalities are at their lowest levels since 1924 is something that’s always fascinated me. Check this out from 1999…
Six times as many people drive today as in 1925, and the number of motor vehicles in the country has increased 11-fold since then to approximately 215 million. The number of miles traveled in motor vehicles is 10 times higher than in the mid-1920s. Despite this steep increase in motor-vehicle travel, the annual death rate has declined from 18 per 100 million vehicle miles traveled (VMT) in 1925 to 1.7 per 100 million VMT in 1997 - a 90% decrease.
* Here are some more Illinois stats, taken from the guv’s press release…
There were 1,454 total fatalities in 2003 and by 2006 the number of fatalities in Illinois was down to 1,254, the lowest number of fatalities since 1924, when there were 1,065.