Understanding Illinois’ Scott’s Law

Scott’s Law, commonly known as the “Move Over” Law, honors Lieutenant Scott Gillen of the Chicago Fire Department. Lieutenant Gillen tragically lost his life after being struck by an intoxicated driver while assisting at an accident on the Dan Ryan Expressway. This traffic law is designed to protect emergency personnel who risk their lives on the roadways while performing their duties.

 What Does Scott’s Law Require?

Scott’s Law imposes specific requirements on drivers when they approach any stationary police or emergency vehicle on the roadway. These requirements are:

  1. Change Lanes if Possible: If there are multiple lanes traveling in the same direction, drivers must change lanes away from the stationary emergency vehicle, provided it is safe to do so.
  2. Reduce Speed Significantly if Unable to Change Lanes: If changing lanes is not possible or safe, drivers must reduce their speed considerably to ensure the safety of the emergency personnel and any other individuals present.
  3. Proceed with Increased Caution: Drivers must be vigilant and cautious as they pass by the stopped emergency vehicle, ensuring they do not endanger those working on the scene.

Under Scott’s Law, an authorized emergency vehicle includes any vehicle equipped with oscillating, rotating, or flashing lights as authorized by law (under Section 12-215 of this Code) while the vehicle’s owner or operator is performing their official duties. This category encompasses not only police and fire department vehicles but also Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) vehicles, snowplows, tow trucks, and other authorized service vehicles.

 Consequences of Violating Scott’s Law

The penalties for violating Scott’s Law are severe, reflecting the seriousness of endangering emergency personnel. Offenders can face fines of up to $10,000. If the violation occurs while the driver is under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or other intoxicating substances, the driver may be classified as an aggravated offender. This classification carries even more severe consequences, including the suspension of driving privileges as follows:

  • 90 days to 1 year: If the violation results in damage to another person’s property.
  • 180 days to 2 years: If the violation results in injury to another person.
  • 2 years: If the violation results in the death of another person.

Additionally, being convicted as an aggravated offender can lead to further legal consequences, including potential imprisonment and a permanent criminal record, which can impact employment opportunities and personal life.

Importance of Compliance

Scott’s Law is vital for ensuring the safety of those who serve our community by responding to emergencies on the roadways. Compliance with this law not only protects emergency personnel but also enhances overall traffic safety by reducing the likelihood of secondary accidents. Drivers must be aware of their responsibilities under Scott’s Law and adhere to its requirements diligently.

 Call The Law Offices of David L. Freidberg For a Free Consultation

If you are facing charges related to violating Scott’s Law, it is crucial to seek experienced legal representation. The Law Offices of David L. Freidberg offers a team of seasoned criminal defense attorneys with a proven track record of success. Attorney Freidberg provide free consultations 24/7 at (312) 560-7100 or toll-free at (800) 803-1442. Serving clients throughout Chicago, Cook County, DuPage County, Will County, and Lake County in Illinois, we are here to protect your rights and defend your case. Contact us today to get the legal support you need.

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