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12 State Police squad cars struck by motorists so far this year

Thursday, Mar 14, 2019

* Yikes…

* What the heck is going on? Here’s Elyssa Cherney in the Tribune

Most of the crashes occurred when it was dark outside, between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m., according to the police agency. Injuries were reported in nine cases, besides Lambert’s, though state police could not specify who was injured in every instance. Previous years saw far fewer cases, with eight in 2018, 12 in 2017 and five in 2016.

“It is difficult to speculate what may be driving the surge of crashes,” state police Sgt. Delila Garcia said in an emailed statement. It could be a combination of factors, she said, including driving under the influence and driving too fast for conditions. […]

Since Lambert’s death, state police have seemingly stepped up enforcement of Scott’s Law and have sought to raise awareness through social media.

Between Jan. 1 and March, troopers issued 366 tickets for violations, compared with 138 for the same period last year. For all of 2018, troopers issued 881 citations, according to data provided by the agency. In many cases, troopers were parked and doing paperwork after a stop when vehicles whizzed past them, so the officers followed those drivers to write the tickets, said Garcia, the state police sergeant.

Go read the rest.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - We'll See - Thursday, Mar 14, 19 @ 9:42 am:

    Hang up and drive people

  2. - XonXoff - Thursday, Mar 14, 19 @ 9:55 am:

    – Hang up and drive people –

  3. - Demoralized - Thursday, Mar 14, 19 @ 10:03 am:

    Start making the initial fine substantial. Give them a ticket for $1,000 or $2,000. It always makes me incredibly angry when people don’t change lanes when someone (even if it’s not a police officer) is pulled over on the side of the road. Move over. And if you can’t manage to follow this rule then stay off the roads because you are not fit to drive an automobile.

  4. - SSL - Thursday, Mar 14, 19 @ 10:15 am:

    I can’t believe the number of people I see with handheld devices while they drive. I’ve seen semi drivers doing it. People making left hand turns with one hand while they other has a phone held to their ear. It is nuts. If you don’t care about yourself, that’s one thing, but you put everyone in danger.

    Increase the fines dramatically and crack down on it. Publicize the number of people caught. Increase fines exponentially for repeat offenders. Double the prison time if involved in a fatal crash.

    We live in an age of zero accountability. Stop the insanity.

  5. - 44th - Thursday, Mar 14, 19 @ 10:23 am:

    While this won’t affect all of the situations it will some, police when pulling people and motorists whenever possible should pull over in a safe area not next to traffic on the side of a road.

    If you ever drive as a passenger on the highway look around, the % of DRIVERS on a phone is astonishing. Funny story, but the worst I ever saw was not a phone, but a bong between a dude’s legs and he was puffing away.

  6. - Truthseeker - Thursday, Mar 14, 19 @ 10:40 am:

    The era when someone swerving all over the road was likely intoxicated is over. They are exponentially more likely to be texting, talking on the phone or otherwise occupied by their hand held electronic device.

    This - while driving a rocket ship at 70 mph plus. Scary.

  7. - Moe Berg - Thursday, Mar 14, 19 @ 10:42 am:

    On March 12, The Guardian ran a story:

    “‘Boulevards of death’: why pedestrian road fatalities are surging in the US. The subhead: “Study cites population growth, driver distraction because of increased phone use and the growing popularity of SUVs as deaths reached an almost three-decade high last year.”

    Quoting further:

    The latest study shows an estimated 6,227 pedestrians were killed in traffic in 2018. The report, from the Governors Highway Safety Association, found that while overall US traffic deaths fell 6% from 2008 to 2017, pedestrian deaths increased by 35% – and continue to rise.

    “This was a total reversal of the progress that we’ve made in the past 30 years,” Richard Retting, a transportation engineer and author of the report, told the Guardian.

    “Other issues such as poor street lighting, alcohol and drugs on the road and speeding are cited as factors in the increasing death toll because they have been largely unaddressed, Retting added.”

    Illinois is middle of the pack. With .63 pedestrian fatalities per 100k population. New Mexico is at the top with 2.26. New Hampshire the bottom at .07.

  8. - Just me - Thursday, Mar 14, 19 @ 10:52 am:

    It’s true people are driving while using their hand held phones. The ISP should issue public info about all accidents involving all first responders involved accidents and the investigated cause. Tpr Lambert’s accident allegedly involved use of cannabis by the 61 year old driver from WI. That has to be under consideration as the GA considers the legal expansion of cannabis use.

  9. - historic66 - Thursday, Mar 14, 19 @ 10:56 am:

    ISP district 10 had a post on Facebook recently that stated a driver received two citations for violating the move over law within a distance of I think just two miles. It further stated that the driver told the trooper that he didn’t think he had to move over.

  10. - LucasBeans - Thursday, Mar 14, 19 @ 11:10 am:

    Ditto on put your phone away. Also, when you see a vehicle on the shoulder, move out of the right lane until you have passed them. I constantly see people fail to switch lanes when a vehicle is pulled over or broken down. Troopers especially need the extra room to safely move from their vehicle. Stay alert and give them space!

  11. - Big Jer - Thursday, Mar 14, 19 @ 11:15 am:

    ===Hang up and drive people===

    Mostly this.

    ==police when pulling people and motorists whenever possible should pull over in a safe area not next to traffic on the side of a road.===

    But this too. I have seen many police pull people over on the side of the road but still in the roadway with a business driveway or side street 50 feet in front of them!!

    Do the police not make a connection that even though they may have their flashing lights on, if they are sitting in the roadway then they are sitting ducks for distracted drivers!

    Lastly as another commenter mentioned, I do not think many people including the police realize how many people drive “impaired”. They are either on prescription meds, psych meds, illegal meds, marijuana, opioids, or drunk.

  12. - Huh? - Thursday, Mar 14, 19 @ 11:17 am:

    Let’s be careful out there.

  13. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Mar 14, 19 @ 11:18 am:

    ===allegedly involved use of cannabis===

    No. It was in his system. It can be detected in your system for a month, even longer.

  14. - Anonymous - Thursday, Mar 14, 19 @ 11:40 am:

    Police can’t control where people pull over. Once they pull someone over and its in an unsafe location, after they have approached the driver they can tell them to move to a safer location to continue the process, but they have no control over where the driver stops. You’d be amazed at how long it takes people to notice lights and sirens behind them AND that those lights and sirens mean pull over to the right as soon as its safe to do so.

  15. - Demoralized - Thursday, Mar 14, 19 @ 11:59 am:

    I find the comments questioning where police pull people over to be ridiculous. So we’re placing part of the blame on incidents with police officers on the officers because they didn’t choose better where to pull someone over? It’s your responsibility as a driver to exercise caution and to move over. That should be the end of the story. Stop complaining about where the police pull people over.

  16. - Just me - Thursday, Mar 14, 19 @ 12:14 pm:

    Felony reckless driving charges involve willful and wanton disregard for the safety of others. Aggravated Reckless driving involves causing great bodily harm, permanent disabity or disfigurement. The alleged cannabis in the blood and its effects and when it was ingested, would be litigated with testimony by experts. He apparently had cannabis in his blood, whether from 30 days ago or two hours earlier than the accident, will have to be decided by the trier of the facts.
    No one would want to be in his shoes, I’m sure of that.

  17. - Thomas Paine - Thursday, Mar 14, 19 @ 12:32 pm:

    Maybe the Millenials over @IDOT should take a break from being ironic and sarcastic and post a useful warning, like:

    “A motorist strikes a parked police car every six days. Please move over and slow down for safety.”

  18. - Groucho - Thursday, Mar 14, 19 @ 12:37 pm:

    Impose very high fines for distracted driving (cell phones and dogs on drivers laps, etc…).

  19. - JS Mill - Thursday, Mar 14, 19 @ 12:53 pm:

    = Stop complaining about where the police pull people over.=

    @Demoralized- I agree with you in that it is our responsibility to be aware of what goes on around us and exercise caution.
    Police could help themselves be safer by trying to move stops to a parking lot or safer location when possible though. Not much of that on the interstate and most that I have seen clearly are doing their best to be safe. But some don’t do a very good job, and I am speaking mostly of suburban and rural stops (usually county sheriff).

    If someone hits them it isn’t the police officers fault, but I wish some would help themselves.

    With respect.

  20. - Big Jer - Thursday, Mar 14, 19 @ 1:17 pm:

    === Stop complaining about where the police pull people over===

    Demoralized- you are entitled to disagree with me but you have no right to tell anyone to stop complaining.

    We all are entitled to our opinions and then to debate those opinions on their merits. I try to treat other’s opinion with respect and I ask the same in return.

    Also I was not “blaming” the police but they are the authority figures here. People are conditioned to pull over immediately.

    J.S put it better than I did. In today’s age of distracted and impaired driving everyone, police and public, has to be proactive.

  21. - Demoralized - Thursday, Mar 14, 19 @ 2:09 pm:

    ==I ask the same in return==

    You want to show me where I was specifically disrespecting you? Because I don’t see anywhere in my comment where I was specifically referring to you. I was referring to the notion that somehow the police play a role here. That argument is simply ridiculous.

    I think you need thicker skin.

  22. - Big Jer - Thursday, Mar 14, 19 @ 2:56 pm:

    ===I don’t see anywhere in my comment where I was specifically referring to you===

    Telling a group of people, of which I am a part, that are saying that the police play a role, to stop complaining is to me the same as directing it to me.

    Also saying that a person’s opinion or argument is ridiculous is not a counter argument. My skin is fine. I think many people would not respond well to being told their argument is ridiculous.

  23. - Just anon - Thursday, Mar 14, 19 @ 2:56 pm:

    Speaking just for me, but sometimes (especially when there are multiple police cars) these flashing LED lights are so bright that they are disorienting. I wonder if this could lead to more crashes.

  24. - Leslie K - Thursday, Mar 14, 19 @ 2:57 pm:

    ==Move over. And if you can’t manage to follow this rule then stay off the roads because you are not fit to drive an automobile.==

    This also

    As someone in the article also points out, moving over when someone is on the side of the highway is just safe driving, law or no law.

    And to those talking about where police pull people over: please remember that this thread is about Troopers pulling people over on expressways. They don’t have the option of a safer location.

  25. - SpfdNewb - Thursday, Mar 14, 19 @ 3:01 pm:

    ==Speaking just for me, but sometimes (especially when there are multiple police cars) these flashing LED lights are so bright that they are disorienting. I wonder if this could lead to more crashes.==

    Just anon, you are not the only one who gets distracted by the bright LEDs. Especially at night.

  26. - Leslie K - Thursday, Mar 14, 19 @ 3:03 pm:

    Just Anon @ 2:56–Absolutely, the lights can be disorienting, and it can even cause un-impaired or non-distracted drivers to drive toward the lights as they look in that direction. That’s a reason for the rule to pull over–if you put a lane between you and the police car, this ‘drift’ won’t result in a tragedy.

  27. - Former Merit Comp - Thursday, Mar 14, 19 @ 6:12 pm:

    Good grief folks it’s pretty simple. When you see those bright shiny lights, slow down and move over. In over 30 years in law enforcement I’ve never seen this many incidents, in such a short amount of time, involving first responders being struck. I’m all for increasing the fines, that always gets the public’s attention and will help pay for the new squad cars the state sure can’t afford right now.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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