Scott’s Law (Emergency Vehicles)
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Scott’s Law is an Illinois statute enacted after the tragic death of Chicago first responder, Scott Gillen. While the driver will officially be cited for “Failure To Yield To An Emergency Vehicle,” many lawyers, judges and police officers refer to it as “Scott’s Law.”
Scott’s Law is named for Lt. Scott Gillen of the Chicago Fire Department. Lt. Gillen lost his life on December 23, 2000, after an intoxicated driver sped through an accident scene he was attending to and pinned him against a fire truck. The law is intended to protect police and fire officials who are doing their duty.
Failure To Yield To An Emergency Vehicle
Here’s a potential scenario that could lead to ticketing under Scott’s Law: You are driving in the far left or right-hand lane and up ahead you see a vehicle on the shoulder. You know it’s an emergency vehicle because of flashing lights. Under Scott’s Law, you must do three things in this circumstance:
- Slow down
- Change lanes to get away from the emergency vehicle if possible
- Proceed with due caution
If you take only one of these three actions, you could receive a ticket for Failure To Yield To An Emergency Vehicle. For example, you may change lanes to create space between your car and the emergency vehicle but fail to reduce your speed. Alternatively, you might slow down but not change lanes, even though it is possible to do so.
Some elements of this offense, such as whether a driver proceeds with caution or has the ability to change lanes, will depend on the circumstances. Your lawyer can defend your perspective of the incident.
The fines for a Scott’s Law ticket can be very high. For a first offense, the minimum fine is $250 plus $250 to the “Scott’s Law Fund” plus mandatory court costs of about $250 (exact amount depends on the county). That puts the absolute minimum at over $750.
For a second offense, that fine goes up to $750 minimum plus the $250 to the “Scott’s Law Fund” plus mandatory court costs. So now your fee is over $1,250.
And there is no guarantee that you will get the minimum fine. If you receive a Scott’s Law ticket, you can be fined up to $10,000. If you are under the influence of alcohol or drugs, you face additional driving suspensions depending on the damage caused, specifically:
- 90 days to one year for property damage
- 180 days to two years for injury to another person
- Two years if there is death to another individual
Because a ticket under for failure to yield to an emergency vehicle can keep you off the road and result in financial hardship, it’s often worth it to dispute the charge or discuss your rights with an attorney.
Do You Need a Lawyer?
It is not recommended that you fight a Scott’s Law ticket on your own. This is due to the fact that the penalties are severe. The Chicago traffic lawyers at DDT Law Group will present a valid defense and negotiate with the prosecutor to protect your driving privileges or reduce your fine.
We provide free consultations to anyone ticketed under Scott’s Law. Please contact us to speak with a lawyer about your options under Scott’s Law. We know the law and can help you get through your legal challenge.
Quick Questions & Answers
Does this only apply to police and fire vehicles?
No, it applies to any vehicle authorized by law to be equipped with oscillating lights. This includes all types of police and fire vehicles. It also may include ambulances, rescue vehicles, many licensed tow trucks, emergency management vehicles, vehicles from many federal agencies, and even some buses. As a rule of thumb, it’s probably a good idea to take the actions required under the law each time you see a vehicle with oscillating lights.
Can you get a DUI or speeding ticket in addition to a Scott’s Law ticket?
Yes. It is common to receive multiple tickets when stopped for Scott’s Law. If this happens to you, it is critical that you contact an experienced traffic attorney.
What is the best way to avoid one of these tickets?
The best way to avoid this ticket is to move out of the lane closest to the emergency vehicle. This is why it is often called the “Move Over” law. Of course, it is not always possible or safe to do this. So if you’re stuck in a situation where you could not move over and received a ticket, you should contact us to defend you.