The Illinois State Police (ISP) continues to urge motorists to obey the Move Over Law — also known as Scott’s Law — and use caution when approaching stationary emergency vehicles or any other stationary vehicle displaying flashing lights on the interstates and roads.
2019 has been an especially tragic year for the Illinois State Police. 27 ISP stationary squad cars have been struck by vehicles, higher than the number of all ISP crashes of this sort that occurred in all of 2016, 2017, and 2018. We also continue to mourn the tragic deaths of Trooper Christopher Lambert and Trooper Brooke Jones-Story.
Enforcement has increased as a result. In 2019, ISP has issued nearly 6,300 citations thus far for violating Scott’s Law — which is nearly 5,300 more than the combined totals of the two previous years. Effective January 1, 2020, violators of Illinois’ Move Over (Scott’s) Law will be fined no less than $250 for a first offense and no less than $750 for a subsequent offense. If the violation involves property damage, the violator’s driver’s license will be suspended for a mandatory period anywhere between 3 to 12 months. If the violation results in injury to another person, the violator’s driver’s license will be suspended for a mandatory period of anywhere between 6 months and two years.
“Following Scott’s Law is a matter of life and death for our brave first responders who are just trying to do their jobs,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “The law is simple: slow down and move over if you see a first responder on the side of the road.”
Governor JB Pritzker has been heavily involved in the effort to bring awareness to the Move Over (Scott’s) Law and has signed two pieces of legislation this year as a part of his ongoing effort. Public Act 101-173 increases the fines for those violating this law. Additionally, a Move Over Task Force, implemented through Public Act 101-174, has been created to study the issues of violations of the Move Over (Scott’s) Law and how to protect emergency responders. Both Senate bills are effective Jan. 1, 2020.
As chair of the Move Over Task Force, ISP Director Brendan F. Kelly continues to make the Move Over Law a top priority. “As an agency, we have responded to the preventable loss of four ISP troopers with resiliency and a focused mission to protect those who are trying to protect all of us. And as long as the danger to our first responders exists, we will continue to raise awareness and aggressively enforce the Move Over (Scott’s) Law,” said ISP Director Brendan F. Kelly.
The Move Over Law was enacted in 2002 in memory of Lt. Scott Gillen of the Chicago Fire Department who was struck and killed on Dec. 23, 2000, by an intoxicated driver on the Dan Ryan Expressway while assisting at a crash scene.
Scott’s Law requires drivers to change lanes when approaching stationary emergency vehicles, including highway maintenance vehicles displaying flashing lights, and any stationary vehicle with their hazard lights activated. The law also states, if changing would be impossible or unsafe, drivers are required to proceed with due caution, reduce the speed of the vehicle and leave a safe distance until safely passing the stationary vehicle.