Motorists reminded to slow down and drive with caution around
emergency scenes and construction areas
Law stiffens related violation penalties
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[DEC. 22, 2006]
SPRINGFIELD -- On Wednesday, Illinois State Police
Director Larry G. Trent and Illinois Department of Transportation
Secretary Timothy W. Martin reminded motorists of
Scott's Law, which was designed to protect emergency response
personnel and highway workers from errant drivers who pose a risk to
public servants. The announcement was made in response to a recent
increase in the number of Illinois State Police officers being
injured after their squad cars were struck by motorists, as well as
the death of an Illinois Department of Transportation maintenance
worker this spring.
Scott's Law was enacted in 2002 in memory of Lt. Scott Gillen of the
Chicago Fire Department, who was struck and killed by an intoxicated
driver on the Dan Ryan Expressway while assisting at a crash scene.
The law requires motorists to yield to moving emergency vehicles,
including highway maintenance vehicles, that are displaying oscillating,
rotating or flashing lights. Additionally, Scott's Law requires
drivers to change lanes (if safe to do so) or reduce speed and
proceed with caution when approaching a stationary emergency vehicle
displaying flashing warning lights.
"As we enter one of the peak
holiday traffic periods of the year, our officers will aggressively
enforce Scott's Law as a way to protect the men and women who put
their lives at risk through public service on Illinois roadways,"
said Trent. "While the law is designed to protect first responders
and highway workers, enforcement of this law will also protect
motorists as they approach emergency vehicles."
"Each year we have between five and 10 of our trucks hit by
drivers, and countless other close calls as our workers are out on
the roads, doing maintenance, picking up debris and assisting
motorists," said Martin. "It only adds at most a minute or two to
your commute to slow down and change lanes. No amount of time is
worth someone's life. Giving way to workers and motorists can
prevent a tragedy. Just this April, one of our employees … was
killed in Madison County just doing the job he loved. Please, slow
down, change lanes and give them a break."
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Motorists who are in violation of Scott's Law commit a business
offense punishable by a fine of not more than $10,000. Drivers who
are in violation of the law while under the influence of drugs or
alcohol can incur additional consequences due to the aggravating
circumstances of their offense. A driver who violates Scott's Law
while under the influence is subject to a 90-day suspension of
driving privileges if the violation results in property damage, a
suspension of 180 days to two years if the violation results in
injury to another person, and a suspension of two years if the
violation results in the death of another person.
Since the legislation was enacted in 2002, the Illinois State
Police has issued 4,626 citations and 8,808 written warnings to
motorists for noncompliance with the statute. In Illinois, there are
on average 6,700 crashes in highway work zones every year, resulting
in approximately 2,800 injuries. In 2005, there were 26 work zone
fatalities, including one worker. So far in 2006, there have been 23
work zone fatalities, including one worker.
[News release from the governor's office]