If you are facing a Scott’s Law violation or just want more information about this common traffic charges, you should know fines can be extremely high if you violate this law. The “Move Over” law, also known as “Scott’s Law” in Illinois, requires motorists to move over for emergency vehicles.
We want to tell you a bit more about the details of the law and then discuss why it is so strongly enforced in Illinois. In short, drivers are not obeying the law and emergency responders are suffering the consequences.
What is Scott’s Law?
Under Illinois law (625 ILCS 5/11-907), motorists must move over when an emergency vehicle is approaching and they also must change lanes when approaching a stopped emergency vehicle. If a driver is approaching a stopped emergency vehicle and cannot safely change lanes, the law requires motorists to slow down and leave a safe distance from the emergency vehicle.
A violation of Scott’s Law can cost anywhere from $250 to $10,000 for a first-time violation and a second or subsequent violation will result in a fine of anywhere from $750 to $10,000. If a person violates Scott’s Law and someone is injured or killed, it becomes a Class 4 felony. A Scott’s Law violation is a serious violation, and it is not something you should take lightly. If you have been cited for a violation, you will want to have a traffic defense lawyer on your side.
Reason for Heavy Enforcement of Scott’s Law
Scott’s Law is heavily enforced in Illinois because Illinois law enforcement officers and emergency responders often are struck and injured or killed by motorists who do not obey Scott’s Law. In 2019, 27 Illinois State Troopers were hit and 3 were killed in collisions with motor vehicles. If drivers do not move over and give the right-of-way to approaching emergency vehicles, or if they do not change lanes when approaching a stopped emergency vehicle, first responders can suffer the consequences. In December 2019, a WJBC report indicated the 27th crash of the year involving a Scott’s Law violation had occurred.
Given that the law is named for Chicago Fire Lieutenant Scott Gillen who was struck and killed by a motorist in 2000 who did not move over, Illinois law enforcement officials want to make sure the drivers obey the law and accidents like these do not happen.
Hundreds of Citations Issued for Scott’s Law Violations
One of the ways Scott’s Law can act as a deterrent is if drivers know the law is heavily enforced in the state. The Illinois State Police write thousands of these citations. According to an ABC News report, by the end of 2019, Illinois State Police had written almost 6,000 Scott’s Law violation citations, which increased from just over 5,000 the previous year. At the start of 2020, law enforcement officials emphasized they had no plans to stop the heavy enforcement of Scott’s Law. To be sure, in an NBC 5 News report indicated Illinois State Police conducted Operation Lambert in early 2020, an operation designed to catch drivers violating Scott’s Law. The operation was named for Illinois State Police Trooper Christopher Lambert, who was killed in January 2019 when a motorist did not obey Scott’s Law.