In order to prevent more tragic losses of emergency responders and highway workers, Governor JB Pritzker and state lawmakers unveiled legislation Tuesday to strengthen Scott’s Law and understand how to better stop more senseless roadway fatalities.
“Scott’s Law says that drivers approaching a vehicle with their hazard lights on must slow down and move over. The legislation we’re announcing today enhances penalties for those who don’t obey the law and raises awareness for those who don’t even know Scott’s Law exists,” said Gov. JB Pritzker. “No one’s time or convenience is worth more than the lives of our state’s heroes.”
This year, Troopers Christopher Lambert, Brooke Jones-Story and Gerald Ellis paid the ultimate sacrifice while serving in the line of duty. The law was initially passed in memory of Lieutenant Scott Gillen.
The proposal is addressed with two separate pieces of legislation. The first, SB 1862, takes several steps to strengthen Scott’s Law:
Expands Scott’s Law protections to include a stationary authorized vehicle with oscillating lights, first responders, IDOT workers, law enforcement officers and any individual authorized to be on the highway within the scope of their employment or job duties;
Increases the minimum fine to $250 for a first violation of Scott’s Law and to $750 for a second or subsequent violation;
Adds $250 assessment fee for any violation of Scott’s Law to be deposited into a new dedicated fund to produce driver education materials, called the Scott’s Law Fund;
Increases criminal penalty to a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in jail, if violation results in damage to another vehicle or a Class 4 felony, punishable by up to one to three years in prison, if violation results in an injury or death of another person;
Amends the Criminal Code of 2012 to include firefighter and emergency medical service personnel while acting within the scope of their official duties;
Adds aggravating factors to reckless homicide charges if Scott’s Law was violated;
Requires the Secretary of State to include written question on Scott’s Law in driver’s license test.
The second piece of legislation, SB 2038, creates a Move Over Task Force to study the issue of violations of Scott’s Law, disabled vehicle law, and stationary authorized emergency vehicle law, with attention to the causes of the violations and ways to protect law enforcement and emergency responders. […]
Members of the Task Force must serve without compensation and must meet no fewer than three times. Additionally, the Task Force must present its report and recommendations to the General Assembly no later than January 1, 2020.
“Enough is enough. Three first responders have lost their lives while working on our roadways this year, and we’re cracking down on reckless drivers to prevent more senseless tragedies,” said Rep. Marcus C. Evans, the chief House sponsor of the package of legislation. “This legislation will keep our brave public servants safe and save lives.”
“As a former police officer, I know the life-threatening situations facing law enforcement every day, and I’m proud this legislation will protect and serve our brave men and women in uniform,” said Sen. Tony Munoz, the chief Senate sponsor of the package of legislation. “We can’t afford to lose any more lives, so I implore all drivers to slow down and move over when you see first responders on the roads.”
“This legislation is one way we’re working to protect the protectors,” said Rep. John Cabello. “Too many first responders have paid the ultimate price, and we are honoring their legacy by preventing even more tragic losses among our state’s heroes.”
“As Moline firefighter and paramedic, keeping our first responders safe is a deeply personal mission for me,” said Sen. Neil Anderson. “To the public servants that work on our roadways, know that we’re doing all we can to keep you safe and ensure you can return home to your families. You deserve nothing less.”
The legislation will be introduced by Rep. Marcus C. Evans Jr. (D-Chicago) and Sen. Tony Munoz (D-Chicago) and will be co-sponsored by Sen. Neil Anderson (R- Andalusia) and Reps. Tim Butler (R-Springfield), John Cabello (R-Machesney Park) and Jay Hoffman (D-Swansea).