Move Over Chicago: Police Strengthen Enforcement to Protect EMS

police cars, car accident lawyerTo better protect police and other emergency professionals after a recent surge of officer deaths, Illinois passed legislation increasing fines and penalties for failing to move over when approaching vehicles with flashing lights on the side of the road. Drivers who fail to comply with the Move Over Law could face license suspension and up to $10,000 in fines.

Increased Number of Deaths Lead to Increased Patrol

In the first quarter of 2019, 14 Illinois State Police officers were struck in roadside crashes. This is nearly double the number for the entire year in 2018 when only eight such crashes occurred. Many of the 2019 crashes took the lives of the police officers who were hit.

The Move Over Law requires motorists to move over to the next lane if they approach vehicles on the side of the road or slow down if moving over is not safe. Still, many drivers fail to heed the law, putting the lives of emergency responders and other motorists at risk. In response, Governor Pritzker and the Illinois State Police have increased enforcement of the law with special details and additional hours of manpower.

Understanding Scott’s Move Over Law

The Move Over Law, also known as Scott’s Law, was created in honor of Scott Gillen, a Fire Lieutenant who was killed in 2000 in a roadside accident. Under the Move Over Law, motorists who approach emergency vehicles on the roadside must either change lanes or slow down. By yielding to emergency vehicles on the side of the road, motorists will reduce the risk of a crash for public officials who are working hard to keep them safe.

Drivers who violate Scott’s Law could face fines of up to $10,000. If someone is hurt because of their negligence, they could lose their license and may be held liable for the injuries they cause if a personal injury lawsuit is filed.

No one can get back the lives lost when drivers fail to heed this law and strike an officer. A car accident lawyer can help victims who are struck and injured by unobservant drivers, but the best protection against this risk is prevention through improved driving practices.