Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker signed legislation last month expanding Scott’s Law, a traffic law that requires drivers to move over and slow down when approaching an emergency vehicle stopped on the road. The governor said the three bills he approved will provide first-responders with “the protection and resources they need to make their work safer.”
Illinois lawmakers wrote Scott’s Law, also known as the “move over” law, in 2001 after Chicago firefighter Scott Gillen was hit by a car while responding to an accident and later died of his injuries. The driver failed to slow down or drive cautiously around the crash site despite efforts by first-responders to protect the scene.
Scott’s Law allows authorities to prosecute drivers who fail to drive with care around emergency vehicles when emergency lights are on. Penalties vary if you are convicted of violating Scott’s Law, but they increase if you damage property, injure or kill someone, or are found to be impaired. You could be fined up to $10,000 and lose your driving privileges for up to two years.
According to the Illinois State Police report, law enforcement issued more than 5,800 citations for Scott’s Law violations in 2019. That figure increased by about 705 percent from the year before because of the formation of the Move Over Task Force, which prioritized Scott’s Law enforcement.
Scott’s Law Expansions
Last month, three measures were signed into law: Senate Bill 1913, House Bill 3656, and Senate Bill 1575. They are slated to go into effect on Jan. 1, 2022, except for SB1575, which goes into effect immediately.
Senate Bill 1913
SB 1913 expands penalties for Scott’s Law violations. The measure permits the court to order community service as a form of punishment.
House Bill 3656
HB 3656 does a few things. First, it makes using a cell phone while driving through an emergency zone an aggravating factor. Second, it adds specific language to Scott’s Law detailing how you should respond as you approach an emergency scene on the road.
Lastly, it creates the Move Over Early Warning Task Force to study how to better educate drivers about navigating emergency zones. The task force is supposed to report its findings in early 2023.
Senate Bill 1575
SB 1575 aids first responders by creating an online resource page, which will contain a collection of mental health resources. The list will include services that assist in everything from wellness to trauma to suicide prevention. The Illinois Department of Human Services will lead the effort. The page’s target launch date is January 2022.
Contact an Aurora, IL Traffic Violations Attorney
If you think you have been wrongfully cited for violating Scott’s Law, contact an experienced Illinois traffic lawyer. Brian J. Mirandola has been offering his legal services to DuPage County for more than 20 years. Call [[phone]] for a free consultation with the Law Office of Brian J. Mirandola.