Lawmakers in Illinois are looking to let motorists drive faster on state highways if recently introduced legislation becomes law. Illinois and Wisconsin are the only two states in the Midwest to have speed limits under 70 miles per hour. Both states currently have 65-mph speed limits on highways. Illinois would be following Indiana's 2005 decision to raise speed limits on highways to 70-mph.

State Senator Jim Oberweis, a Sugar Grove Republican, sponsored the bill along with Transportation Committee Chairman Marin Sandoval, a Cicero Democrat. The legislation passed the State Senate on Tuesday, and will graduate to the House of Representatives and could be voted on by the end of May.

Oberweis said he wrote the bill to increase the speed limit because at 65-mph, the state’s speed limits are not in line with those in many other states. “Right now, you can drive from Illinois to Florida and not drive under 70 miles per hour, except for in Illinois,” he said.

Currently, 34 states have speed limits of 70-mph or higher Oberweis indicated, citing that many motorists disregard the 65-mph limit. “It would a benefit to travelers to save a little bit of time while staying within the law, and businesses might be able to operate more efficiently,” he said.

The Illinois State Police requested that the bill enhance public safety by lowering the threshold for speeding penalties, the release states. Speeding in excess of 26 mph, but less than 35 mph, is still a Class B misdemeanor.

The big caveat is some language in the legislation: it would allow some counties to opt out of the higher speed limit, including Cook County, home of Chicago, as well as Madison and St. Clair counties.

How do you feel about raising speed limits to reflect the times?