As the state’s attorney for Whiteside County, I feel compelled to address the recent tragedies involving the senseless loss of law enforcement officers’ lives on the roadways of this state.
You have probably heard of Scott’s Law, sometimes called the “move over” law. Scott’s Law is named after a Chicago firefighter, Scott Gillen, who was killed while working an accident on a Chicago expressway.
Scott’s Law requires that when you are driving and approach a stationary authorized emergency vehicle giving a signal by displaying alternately flashing red, red and white, blue, or red and blue lights or amber or yellow warning lights, you need to do the following:
• If on a highway having at least four lanes with not less than two lanes proceeding in the same direction as your vehicle is traveling, proceed with due caution, yield the right of way by making a lane change into a lane not adjacent to that of the authorized emergency vehicle, if possible with due regard to safety and traffic conditions or ...
• If changing lanes is impossible or unsafe, proceed with due caution, reduce the speed of your vehicle, maintain a safe speed for road condition.
A violation of this law carries a fine of anywhere from $100 to $10,000. If the violation of the law results in damage to the property of another person, the violator’s driving privilege is suspended for anywhere from 90 days to 1 year. If the violation results in an injury to another person, the violator’s driving privilege is suspended for anywhere from 180 days to 2 years. If the violation results in the death of another person, the violator’s driving privilege is suspended for 2 years. These suspensions are in addition to any other penalties imposed.
It is not unreasonable for law enforcement officers to expect to complete their work shifts and safely return home to their families afterward. Scott’s Law doesn’t require very much from us as drivers. If the penalties don’t motivate you to comply with this law, I ask you to think about how you would feel if you injured or killed a law enforcement officer doing her or his job to keep all of us safe. Please keep alert when driving.
Terry Costello is the Whiteside County state’s attorney.