Illinois Speed Limits, Laws, and Fines | YourMechanic Advice

Illinois Speed Limits, Laws, and Fines

Following is an overview of the laws, limits, and fines as they relate to speeding traffic violations in the state of Illinois.

Speed limits in Illinois

70 mph: rural interstates

65 mph: four-lane divided highways

55 mph: most other highways

45 mph: urban freeways and interstates through downtown Chicago

30 mph: maximum speed limit in residential areas (may be as low as 20 mph)

30 mph: urban districts

20 mph: school zones during posted hours when children are present

15 mph: urban alleys

Illinois differs a bit from most states in that the posted reduced construction zone speed applies 24/7, whether workers are present or not.

Illinois code on reasonable and prudent speed

Maximum speed law:

According to section 11-601(a) of Illinois vehicle code, “A person shall not drive a vehicle upon any highway at a speed that is greater than is reasonable and proper with regard to traffic conditions and the use of the highway, or endangers the safety of any person or property.”

Minimum speed law:

According to section ILCS 5/11-606(a) of Illinois vehicle code, “No person shall drive a motor vehicle at such slow speed as to impede or block the normal and reasonable movement of traffic.”

Section 11-701(b) states, “A person driving at less than the normal speed of traffic shall drive in the right-hand lane available for traffic or as close as practicable to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway.”

There is a minimum 45 mph speed limit on most interstate highways throughout Illinois.

Due to variations in speedometer calibration, tire size, and margins of error in speed-detecting technology, it’s uncommon for an officer to pull a driver over for going less than five miles above the speed limit. However, technically any amount over can be considered a speed violation so best practices are to stay within the limit.

While it may be difficult to fight a speeding ticket in Illinois due to the absolute speed limit law, a driver may choose to go to court and claim their innocence based upon one of the following:

  • The driver may oppose the determination of speed. In order to claim this defense a driver must know how his or her speed was determined and then learn how to disprove its accuracy.

  • A driver may claim that an emergency situation caused the driver to break the speed limit in order to prevent injury or damage to themselves or others.

  • The driver may claim a case of mistaken identity. If a police officer clocks a driver speeding and subsequently has to find them again in traffic, it’s possible that they could have made a mistake and pulled the wrong car over.

Penalty for exceeding the speed limit in Illinois

First-time violators may:

  • Be fined up to $1000

  • Have their license suspended for up to one year

Penalty for reckless driving in Illinois

In this state, traveling 30 mph or more over the speed limit is automatically considered reckless driving.

First-time violators may:

  • Be fined up to $2500

  • Be sentenced to up to one year of jail time

  • Have their license suspended for up to one year

Violators may be required to attend traffic school, and/or may be able to have their speeding fine reduced by attending these classes.


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