KSDK – Even though you'll be able to drive faster on rural streets in Illinois starting in 2014, don't go too fast: going 26 mph or over above the posted limit is now a class B misdemeanor, and speeding by a margin of more than 35 mph could spell a class A misdemeanor.
Also be sure to put away your cell phone – a ban goes into effect on Jan. 1. Your first offense could mean $75 fine. Penalties for distracted drivers who injure others or cause fatal crashes could result in fines of up to $2,500 and less than a year of jail time.
Bluetooth headsets, earpieces and voice-activated commands are, however, permitted. Otherwise, the only exemptions from the law apply to law enforcement officers or first responders; drivers reporting emergencies and drivers using electronic devices while parked on the shoulder.
As for the speed limit increase, rural roadways can change from 55 miles per hour to 65 to 70 miles per house. Cook, DuPage, Kane, Will, McKenry, Lake, Madison and St. Clair counties have been granted exemptions to opt out and maintain the current speed limit on heavily congested roadways.
All of these changes go into effect on Jan. 1.