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A big part of any community is those who are dedicated to serving and protecting it. First responders are an important part of society and they put their lives on the lines to save others. Their jobs can be dangerous in many ways and sadly roadway safety is becoming one of them.
This year alone, there has been 26 total number of traffic crashes involving an Illinois State Trooper. In the history of the Illinois State Police, this has been the deadliest year on record, with four troopers having died in the line of duty. All 26 crashes and three of the deaths were traffic-related. A majority of these senseless accidents were a direct result of another motorist failing to use caution and mover over while a trooper was parked along the side of the road with emergency lights on.
While moving over for emergency vehicles may seem like common courtesy, it is actually the law. “Failure to yield to an emergency vehicle”, The Move Over Law or Scott’s Law, as best known, is an Illinois statue enacted in 2002 after the tragic death of an active Chicago firefighter in 2000.
With this law motorists are required to slow down, move over and proceed with caution. Initially this law only applied for law enforcement and first responders but an update to Scott’s Law in 2017 now governs emergency stopped commercial trucks and cars, such as licensed tow trucks, emergency management vehicles, vehicles from federal agencies and even some buses.
Just recently, In July 2019, Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed a legislation that will enhance penalties for who do not obey Scott’s Law.
First time violators will now have to pay a minimum of $250 in fines and a second offense could cost violators $750. Fines for violations can go as high as $10,000 and motorists could even have their license suspended. Jail time can be a penalty too if there is a result of harm to others.
In response to the increase of crashes resulting in injuries, Illinois law enforcement is extremely motivated to enforce Scott’s law this more than ever. Citations issued by the Illinois State Police has more than doubled this year compared to last year. Through November of this year, there has been a little under 6,000 citations issued from Scott’s Law compared to the same time period in 2018, issuing less than 750 citation.
Also signed into the law this year is the creation of the ‘move over’ task force. The objective of this work force is to study Scott’s Law violations in an effort to continually improve protection to law enforcement, first responders and civilians. With the help of social media, law enforcement is set on educating the public with the importance and changes in Scott’s Law.