Many local residents are familiar with Scott’s Law—also known as the Move Over Law.
It was enacted in 2002, after Scott Gillen, a Chicago Fire Department lieutenant from Beverly, was killed by an intoxicated driver on the Dan Ryan Expressway on Dec. 23, 2000, while working at the scene of an accident.
The law requires motorists to approach with caution and yield to emergency vehicles when driving upon the scene of an accident. Drivers must change lanes if possible or reduce speed if they are unable to switch lanes.
The law is now back in the spotlight after 14 troopers from the Illinois State Police (ISP) have already been struck by vehicles this year while responding to accidents. One trooper, Christopher Lambert, was killed when he was hit by an alleged intoxicated driver in an incident that bore a frightening resemblance to Gillen’s death.
Last year, eight troopers were involved in accidents.
The safety of first responders in fighting gun violence is always a high priority, but citizens can do their part to keep first responders safe by driving with care.
Gov. J.B. Pritzker spoke on March 25 about the disturbing amount of ISP troopers injured in accidents.
“I’m here today to say to drivers on the roads: When you see a state trooper’s vehicle on the side of the road, slow down, obey the law and move over,” Pritzker said. “Our state troopers are putting their lives on the line every single day. They are our heroes and first responders, keeping people safe. No driver needs to get to a destination so quickly that they need to put a trooper’s life at risk. No one’s time or convenience is worth more than the lives of our state’s heroes.”
Residents should be especially grateful for troopers because these law enforcement officers have responded to several shootings on the Dan Ryan Expressway and Interstate 57 in recent months, some of them fatal shootings.
Drivers’ safety is at risk, and troopers are working to minimize the threat.
As of Jan. 1, 2017, Scott’s Law began applying to any vehicle if it is on the roadside with its emergency flashers activated. Violators may be fined between $100 and $10,000, and their driver’s license may be suspended.
All drivers have to do is display some common-sense courtesy for the other people on the road.