According to a study conducted by the Illinois Tollway and published by the Chicago Tribune this weekend, 95% of the drivers on our local highways are traveling above the posted speed limit. Average highway speeds were 71 mph — over 15 miles over the limit in most places.
This news is timely, since the aggravated speeding statute has been amended once again, effective January 1, 2014. As of that date, it will be a Class B misdemeanor to speed between 26 and 35 miles per hour over the posted speed limit (this will be a change from the current law, which makes it a class B for driving between 31 and 40 over the limit). Over 35 miles an hour over the limit will be a class A misdemeanor (currently, over 40 is a class A).
This law will go into effect at the same time that the posted speed limits in some areas will go up to 70 mph (but probably not in the Chicago metro-area).
So please keep in mind that if you are driving 80 mph or faster on a highway where there is a posted 55 limit, you will be committing a criminal offense, as opposed to a mere traffic violation. Even if it is your first offense, the minimum sentence will be a conviction, so this means that you will be at risk of becoming a convicted criminal.
Anyone going 90 or faster will be at risk of getting a conviction for a class A offense. Keep in mind, this is the same level of classification as misdemeanor DUI, theft or battery.