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ISP Director Kelly: “It’s about basic decency and respect”

Wednesday, Feb 17, 2021

* Breane Lyga

A dangerous trend has returned to Illinois, two years after three Illinois State Police troopers were killed.

Scott’s Law crashes involving Illinois State Police troopers are on the rise so far in 2021, with 10 crashes reported since Jan. 1. Three of the Scott’s Law crashes happened on just one day—Feb. 16.

Scott’s Law, also known as the Move Over Law, requires Illinois drivers to slow down and safely change lanes when a vehicle with flashing hazard lights is on the side of the road. […]

Out of the 10 Scott’s Law crashes in 2021, six have left troopers with injuries. One of the crashes, in Will County on Feb. 15, left a trooper seriously injured. None of the crashes in 2021 have been deadly, however Illinois State Police Director Brendan Kelly said one Scott’s Law crash is too many.

“…this about more than just obeying the law,” Kelly said. “It’s about basic decency and respect for the very lives of the brave souls on our streets simply trying to help the public.”

- Posted by Rich Miller        

21 Comments »
  1. - Billy Goat Gruff - Wednesday, Feb 17, 21 @ 5:48 am:

    Education usually takes care of most issue but in this case there’s been loads of it in ads, announcements and videos. Enforcement hasn’t helped. Not sure how to get it through the thick skulls of these reckless jerks. Maybe a 30 day license suspension. Second offense 90 days. Lose your privilege rule?


  2. - @misterjayem - Wednesday, Feb 17, 21 @ 6:08 am:

    I will always be amazed that we needed a law to get drivers to behave in a common sense manner.

    – MrJM


  3. - Pacman - Wednesday, Feb 17, 21 @ 6:26 am:

    Despite all the public service announcements, a law and just plain common sense that tells people to move over when you see emergency lights these crashes continue to happen. There is a term for this, it’s called Threat Fixation, which says people tend to steer in the direction of the object that has their attention. In other words some people are like moths drawn to a light. I don’t know how you fix this.


  4. - Al - Wednesday, Feb 17, 21 @ 6:31 am:

    55 Saves Lives


  5. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Feb 17, 21 @ 6:56 am:

    Truly a sad situation that decency and safety need to be reminded.

    I appreciate Director Kelly’s message, I thank and worry for the troopers, and I hope people can take seriously the dangers they pose by not being safe, because the safety of others depend on people’s earnest effort of safety.


  6. - RNUG - Wednesday, Feb 17, 21 @ 7:19 am:

    Not trying to excuse what happened, but trying to understand why. I noticed at least 2 of the recent 3 were crashes on the left hand side. I wonder if that was a contributing factor since you normally expect to see a disabled / emergency vehicle on the right shoulder?


  7. - Retired Firefighter - Wednesday, Feb 17, 21 @ 7:42 am:

    The troopers were at crashes that already occurred. That is why they were on the left side.


  8. - DuPage Saint - Wednesday, Feb 17, 21 @ 8:13 am:

    I had to be on I 90 yesterday. Perhaps a very large crack down on speeders would be a start. Semi trucks going 80 pick ups at least that and the occasional car I swear going 100. No concern for snow or ice or salt trucks. In a perfect world I would have a separate road for trucks.


  9. - Techman - Wednesday, Feb 17, 21 @ 8:44 am:

    I regularly work on the side of the road and can say that accident ahead signs, arrow boards, & cones will not get people to move over or slow down. We have had drivers swerve through our lane closure cones to go around slowed traffic at a wreck scene. Another hint (and law) is to turn the headlights on during inclement weather.


  10. - Essential State Employee - Wednesday, Feb 17, 21 @ 8:46 am:

    Agree on previous points regarding obeying Scott’s Law, and cracking down on speeding and driving too fast for conditions.

    I also should add that if you’re skidding on the road, you should ride out the skid and not apply the brakes. I think there’s a lot of drivers that forget that point (although they might hit the brakes out of panic).


  11. - Thomas Paine - Wednesday, Feb 17, 21 @ 9:07 am:

    .

    The problem is that we are a nation of offensive drivers not defensive drivers. People tailgate nonstop, which means their eyes are focused on the bumper ahead not the road ahead.

    Idiots try to cut into lines of traffic by pulling up on the right which boxes in people on the left so they can’t pull over. Some drivers encourage this behavior by allowing them to cut in.

    Nothing is going to change this aggressive behavior.

    Officers need vehicles that prioritize their safety over catching speeders. The state should prioritize officer safety by painting police vehicles emergency orange instead of white, and consider vehicle types that are either designed or modified to better withstand rear impact crashes.

    We should increase the number of troopers so that you have two vehicles responding at crash sites instead of one. A crash site is already a dangerous spot by definition. The second officer can be 200 yards back flagging drivers to move over.

    We should change procedure and instruct drivers to proceed to the next exit ramp to issue speeding citations, instead of doing them roadside.


  12. - zatoichi - Wednesday, Feb 17, 21 @ 9:08 am:

    These are the people who ignore ‘lane closed in 2 miles’ signs regardless of how long a line of vehicles may be until they are at the actual closure point then try to force their way into the open lane. Same people will squeeze onto the right/left medium when two semis are blocking traffic in long lines coming to an accident.


  13. - Club J - Wednesday, Feb 17, 21 @ 9:11 am:

    I’ve been reading articles on these accidents the last few days and it’s sad that people have no concern for others when they are out on the road. Many years ago when I was young a family friend stopped to help a lady change a flat tire on the highway leading to St. Louis. He thought they were far enough off the road, but a car going to fast hit him and he lost his legs. The car kept going. Newly married with a child on the way.

    I remember my old man drilling into me when you see someone on the side of the road you give them plenty of room. People just don’t care and are always in a hurry.


  14. - Candy Dogood - Wednesday, Feb 17, 21 @ 9:12 am:

    If we’re pondering further legislative changes we should consider a mechanism that passes liability onto the operator’s employer for accidents involving semi-tractor trailers that fail to appropriately manage their lanes.

    It takes a lot to stop many tons of vehicle and freight. They have superior visibility and are supposed to have significant training but are forced into situations where if their truck moves slower they feel it in their pocket book. Figuring out a way to remove that pressure could alleviate part of the problem.


  15. - Homebody - Wednesday, Feb 17, 21 @ 9:26 am:

    We don’t need new laws, we need more enforcement. The same is true with most criminal laws. Higher penalties don’t have a deterrent effect on bad behavior. Studies have consistently shown that perceived likelihood of getting caught is what creates the deterrent effect.

    Unfortunately politicians love to stomp their feet and pass extra laws, even if we already have existing laws that cover the situation (like all the previously mentioned posts from people about headlights in poor visibility weather, etc). The ISP needs the resources to actually enforce them.


  16. - Steve Rogers - Wednesday, Feb 17, 21 @ 9:32 am:

    “These are the people who ignore ‘lane closed in 2 miles’ signs regardless of how long a line of vehicles may be until they are at the actual closure point then try to force their way into the open lane.”

    Actually, studies have shown that the zipper method you describe is the best way to merge from 2 lanes to 1 in a construction zone with the least impact on traffic flow. When people line up in one lane leaving the other one open for a mile are only contributing to slowed and stopped traffic.

    To the post, for the life of me, I can’t understand why this is so hard for people to do. Slow the [censored] down when you see lights. Getting to your destination all of 3 seconds faster isn’t going to make a difference. But driving like an idiot and potentially killing an officer of the law while doing his/her duty is unforgivable.


  17. - RNUG - Wednesday, Feb 17, 21 @ 9:45 am:

    == The troopers were at crashes that already occurred. ==

    I understand that … but I still wonder if that wasn’t a contributing factor.


  18. - Occasionally Moderated - Wednesday, Feb 17, 21 @ 10:41 am:

    Rnug-

    Being on the left lane may have contributed to a lack of visibility to approaching traffic especially if the crash is in an area with median wall between nb and sb lanes and curve in the road


  19. - Arock - Wednesday, Feb 17, 21 @ 11:02 am:

    Trooper’s cars should be equipped with high resolution cameras in the rear and that footage should be analyzed and vehicles that do not change lanes should have a ticket sent to the vehicle owner just like is done for red light cameras. The more people that get ticketed heavily for this offense the sooner the word gets out that this B.S. is not going to be tolerated. Not a big fan of speed cameras or red light cameras but after traveling on the tollways around Chicago since my children moved there something needs to be done about the excessive speeding. Work Zone speed limits on the tollways are a joke with no one slowing down. I guess going green only works for business not for people using more fuel to drive at higher speeds.


  20. - JDuc - Wednesday, Feb 17, 21 @ 6:51 pm:

    People are selfish, they basically only think of themselves.

    Seems the more regulation and laws we put on the books doesn’t do much to curb these behaviors.


  21. - I 55 traveler - Wednesday, Feb 17, 21 @ 8:44 pm:

    I was on that section of I-55 about two hours ahead of the crash… fishtailed twice. Car in front of me did a figure 8. Luckily he straighten it out. Someone came up in the left lane of a 3 Lane highway…high speed crazy. I drove 100 miles it took 3 1/2 hours. I agree there’s something about the left lane.


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