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IL 53 Speedway

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

IL 53 Speedway

Gus Philpott
Woodstock Advocate
June 6, 2007


This afternoon I drove north from Woodfield Mall on Illinois Highway 53. Getting on just south of I-90 was uneventful. For some strange reason, there was a break in traffic and no one hurried to fill in the gap before I could enter the roadway. The speed limit is 55MPH.

After the congestion for the I-90 weave, the roadway opens up and drivers take off. Well, you’d think they were taking off from the ground and hoping to become airborne. Very quickly the average speed of moving traffic appeared to be about 70MPH – a full 15MPH over the posted speed limit.

I was tailgated numerous times as I poked along in the right lane at the 55MPH speed limit. There are days when I really do wonder why I am crazy enough to still drive at the speed limit and not speed up. When the “flow” is 70MPH, it is very dangerous to drive 15MPH less than the flow of traffic, even in the right-hand lane.

Am I the only person in northern Illinois who respects and obeys the speed limits?

I called Lt. Anderson of the Chicago District of the Illinois State Police and left a long message for him that I was very upset about the traffic flow northbound at 2:30PM. I’m telling you - - it was insane. And it’s like that all the time. Traffic flow today was 70-75MPH.

On some mornings I have driven south on IL 53. It's just as bad.

Here’s what I think. I believe the Illinois State Police tolerates 15MPH, unless a driver is aggressively changing lanes and commits some other flagrant violation.

What’s needed? The cops will NEVER regain control of speeds by writing one ticket at a time. PhotoRadar is the solution. You know, the combination radar gun and camera? Radar measures your speed, a camera photographs your car, and a computer mails the ticket to you. I favor putting a camera over each lane and a set of cameras every five miles. Mail out the tickets once a month. When a driver gets 10-15-20 speeding tickets in the mail one Monday and adds up the fines at, say, $100 each, this will get his attention. Maybe…

Require court appearance, in person, every time. Don’t allow attorneys to appear in a driver’s place – make the driver be there, too. Do not grant Court Supervision. Report all convictions to the Secretary of State. Put all convictions on the driver’s license record. Report all convictions to insurance companies. In fact, report all tickets to insurance companies!

I’d like to see the cops establish rolling blockades, such as the California Highway Patrol did years ago. Police cars, side by side, at the speed limit. Nobody gets around!

I’ve heard it takes 21 days to form a new habit. Slow drivers down for 21 days. Force habit-change.

Use aircraft to spot lane-jumpers, shoulder-riders, inside lane passers, tailgaters, and use motorcycle cops to nail them.

Put up billboards with changeable electronic read-outs for real-time updates on number of tickets being generated and fines to be levied. Oh, yes…don’t forget to display court costs, which might be 2- or 3-times the cost of the fine.

Anyone else in favor of hardball on this topic?



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