Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn has signed a law raising the speed limit to 65 mph for semis and other large trucks. But the trucks will be traveling with better brakes, thanks to federal regulations passed last month aimed at saving lives.
The law, which is the result of a three-year battle among lawmakers, takes effect Jan. 1. While it will not impact highways in the immediate Chicago area, safety advocates voiced concern about allowing semis, dump trucks and other large trucks to legally travel faster among much smaller passenger cars.
The Illinois truck accident lawyers and Chicago personal injury attorneys at Abels & Annes represent victims of accidents with large trucks, which can often weigh 10 times more than a 4,000 pound passenger car.
In 2008, 4,229 people were killed in crashes involving large trucks, down 12 percent from the 4,822 deaths recorded in 2007.
Nine states — Arkansas, California, Idaho, Indiana, Michigan, Montana, Oregon, Texas, and Washington — still retain lower speed limits for large trucks, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
Texas and Utah allow semis to travel as fast as 80 mph.
In July, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration issued new braking requirements, which the federal government estimates will save more than 200 lives a year and reduce property damage by more than $169 million a year.
“Safety is our highest priority,” Secretary Ray LaHood said. “Motorists deserve to know they are sharing the road with large trucks that are up to the safest possible standards, so they can get home alive to their families.”
The new standard requires that a tractor-trailer traveling at 60 miles per hour come to a complete stop in 250 feet. The old standard required a complete stop within 355 feet.
The new regulation will be phased in over four years beginning with 2012 models in an effort to speed up the introduction of the latest brake technology to help truck drivers avoid collisions with other vehicles.
The new rule applies only to truck tractors, and does not include single-unit trucks, trailers and buses.
If you or someone you love has been seriously injured or killed in an accident with a semi or large truck, the Chicago personal injury lawyers and wrongful death attorneys at Abels & Annes offer free appointments to discuss your rights.