Illinois’s Speeding Laws and Penalties

Read about Illinois’s speeding laws and the consequences of getting a speeding ticket.

Illinois has two types of speeding laws: a “basic speeding law” and “absolute limits.” This article explains the differences between the two and the consequences of a speeding violation.

(Also, check out our article that discusses the different types of speeding laws.)

Basic Speeding Law

Illinois’s basic speeding law prohibits driving 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.” In other words, motorists must always drive at a safe speed. What a safe speed is will depend on the circumstances. For instance, 55 miles per hour might be safe on a bright, sunny day. But if it’s dark and the road is icy, going 55 miles per hour could be dangerous and a violation of the basic speeding law.

(625 Ill. Comp. Stat. Ann. § 5/11-601 (2017).)

Absolute Speed Limits

There is no trick to how Illinois’s absolute speed limits work: If the absolute speed limit is 50 miles per hour and you drive faster than that, you’ve violated the law. Illinois’s absolute speed limits include:

  • 70 miles per hour on interstate highways
  • 65 miles per hour state highways with at least four lanes that are outside urban districts
  • 55 miles per hour on other highways, roadways, and streets outside urban districts
  • 30 miles per hour on urban district roadways
  • 15 miles per hour in urban district alleys, and
  • 20 miles per hour in school zones.

(625 Ill. Comp. Stat. Ann. §§ 5/11-601, 5/11-605 (2017).)

Penalties for a Speeding Ticket

The consequences of a speeding ticket depend on the circumstances. But generally, the possible penalties are:

  • 1 to 20 miles per hour over the limit. $120 fine.
  • 21 to 25 miles per hour over the limit. $140 fine.
  • 26 to 34 miles per hour over the limit. Class B misdemeanor and carries up to six months in jail and a maximum $1,500 in fines.
  • 35 miles per hour or more over the limit. Class A misdemeanor and carries up to one year in jail and a maximum $2,500 in fines.

(730 Ill. Comp. Stat. §§ 5/5-4.5-55, 5/5-4.5-60 (2017).)

Reckless Driving

Depending on the circumstances, a speeding violation could lead to a “reckless driving” conviction. A standard first offense carries up to one year in jail and fines of up to $2,500. (625 Ill. Comp. Stat. Ann. § 5/11-503 (2017); 730 Ill. Comp. Stat. Ann. § 5/5-4.5-55 (2017).)

(Read more about Illinois’s reckless driving laws and penalties.)

Point System

Generally, a speeding violation adds points to the motorist’s driving record. Accumulating too many points leads to license suspension.

(Find out about Illinois’s traffic violation points system, including the number of points corresponding to different citations.)

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