70 mph New Year's Day? Not So Fast ...

Dec 31, 2013

This Illinois Department of Transportation map shows where the speed limit increases to 70 mph as of Jan. 1, 2014.
Credit IDOT

Beginning Jan. 1, the maximum speed limit in Illinois will increase to 70 miles an hour. But you might want to hold off on the throttle for at least a few weeks.

While the new 70 mph law technically goes into effect at midnight on New Year's Day, it's going to take the Illinois Department of Transportation a little while to get all the new speed limit signs put up. Until then, IDOT spokeswoman Paris Earvin says, "We really encourage motorists to obey the posted speed limits."

But Illinois State Police spokeswoman Monique Bond says even if the sign is not up, the new law is still in effect.

So can we put the hammer down?

"That's something that obviously will be under the discretion of the trooper, and also depending on the circumstances of an individual who is exceeding the speed limit," Bond says.

IDOT will be posting about 900 new signs between Jan. 2 and Jan. 17, but not earlier.

"I've had folks ask me, 'Why not before Jan. 1?' " Earvin says. "We cannot legally post 70mph speed-limit signs until the law is effective."

The new speed limit applies primarily on rural interstates. According to an IDOT map, places where the speed limit will not increase include Cook and the surrounding counties, the Metro East area near St. Louis, and in several downstate cities, such as Springfield and Effingham.