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Scott's Law

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Scott's Law
Seal of Illinois.svg
Illinois General Assembly
Citation625 ILCS 5/11-907(c)
Territorial extentState of Illinois
Enacted byIllinois House of Representatives
Date passedMarch 21, 2001
Enacted byIllinois Senate
Date passedMay 15, 2001
Date signedAugust 9, 2001
Signed byGovernor of Illinois George Ryan
Date effectiveFebruary 1, 2001
Legislative history
Bill introduced in the Illinois House of RepresentativesHB 180
First readingJanuary 10, 2001
Second readingMarch 10, 2001
Third readingMarch 21, 2001
First readingMarch 28, 2001
Second readingMay 1, 2001
Third readingMay 15, 2001
Summary
Amends the Illinois Vehicle Code and the Unified Code of Corrections
Status: In force

Scott's Law, 625 ILCS 5/11-907(c), is a mandatory move over law in the state of Illinois.[1] The law requires that all motorists move over when encountering stopped or disabled vehicles displaying warning lights.[2] The law is used to prosecute a failure to give ample care to stopped vehicles, including not reducing speed, changing lanes, or using caution, and can be a compounding offense on roadway incidents with such a vehicle.[3]

Scott's Law is named after Lieutenant Scott Gillen of the Chicago Fire Department who was struck and killed by an intoxicated driver while responding to a crash on the Dan Ryan Expressway on December 23, 2000.[4][5]

Background[edit]

Scott Peter Gillen (August 25, 1963 — December 23, 2000)[6] was a 14-year member and lieutenant of the Chicago Fire Department. Gillen died after suffering multiple injuries when he was struck by a passing vehicle at an accident scene.[7][8]

According to the incident summary provided by the Chicago Fire Department, Gillen was dispatched to assist at an accident scene on Interstate 94. Upon arrival, the fire department's truck positioned itself to protect the accident scene from the traffic. Gillen was retrieving a piece of equipment from the truck when a passing car illegally crossed the center lane to cut in front of a semi-trailer truck traveling in the outside lane. The car struck the semi-trailer truck on the front passenger side, causing the car to rotate. The car struck Gillen, pinning him against the rear bumper of the fire truck. Gillen was transported by University of Illinois Hospital helicopter to Christ Hospital in Oak Lawn, Illinois, where he died from his injuries.[6]

The driver of the car was identified as 26-year-old Carlando J. Hurt of Hammond, Indiana.[9] Hurt had past traffic violations, including at least nine citations for driving on a suspended license when he struck and killed Gillen. Hurt had been drinking on the night of the incident. According to prosecutors, Hurt's blood-alcohol level was 0.132 percent, over one and a half times the legal limit of 0.08 percent. In June of 2002, Hurt was sentenced to 13 years in prison for reckless homicide.[10]

Legislation summary[edit]

In its original iteration, Scott's Law provided that vehicles approaching a stationary authorized emergency vehicle displaying flashing warning lights must yield the right-of-way by reducing speed and making a lane change.[11] Authorized emergency vehicles were defined as police cruisers, ambulances, and fire trucks.[4]

On August 18, 2017, an amendment to Scott's Law went into effect, which extended protection under the law to all stopped vehicles displaying warning lights, including commercial cars and trucks with hazard lights flashing, rather than the previous regulation of authorized emergency vehicles.[12] The definition of an authorized emergency vehicle was updated to include any vehicle authorized by law to be equipped with oscillating, rotating, or flashing lights while the operator of the vehicle is engaged in their official duties.[13] This amendment continues to include emergency vehicles such as fire trucks, ambulances, and police cars, but adds on such vehicles as Department of Transportation vehicles, snowplows, construction vehicles, and commercial cars and trucks, among others.

In response to the rise in Scott's Law violations, the penalties for the violation were stiffened in 2020. The minimum fine for a first violation was raised to $250 and $750 for a second violation.[14] Further, injuries or deaths caused by a Scott's Law violation would automatically result in a Class 4 felony charge.[15]

In March 2021, the Illinois General Assembly passed an amendment to Scott's Law, which would allow judges to issue a term of community service work with the fine.[16][17] The amendment was sent to Governor J. B. Pritzker and is awaiting action.[18]

Legacy[edit]

Vehicular incidents involving authorized roadside personnel are often referred to as "Scott's Law crashes."[19] When it was passed, violations of Scott's Law were punishable by a fine of up to $10,000 and up to a year of license suspension. If the violation resulted in the death of another person, it was punishable by a two-year license suspension. The law was considered a "business offense" and was punishable by a fine only.[20] In 2019, Illinois State Police issued 5,860 tickets for Scott's Law violations, a nearly 800 percent increase from 2018's 738 citations. In 2019, three Illinois State Police troopers were killed and 26 police cars were struck by drivers who failed to follow Scott's Law.[21]

References[edit]

  1. "Status of HB0180". www.ilga.gov. Retrieved 2021-06-28.
  2. Office of the Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White (May 2019). "Mover Over - It's The Law" (PDF). cyberdriveillinois.com. Retrieved July 3, 2021. Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)
  3. "Scott's Law | Police - Illinois State". police.illinoisstate.edu. Retrieved 2021-07-03.
  4. 4.0 4.1 "Scott's Law - The MOVE OVER Law" (PDF). Illinois State Police. Retrieved June 28, 2021. Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)
  5. "Illinois Senate Passes 'Scott's Law' to Protect Emergency Workers". Fire Engineering. 2001-05-22. Retrieved 2021-06-28.
  6. 6.0 6.1 "Firefighter Details". www.fsi.illinois.edu. Retrieved 2021-06-28.
  7. "HB0180enr 92nd General Assembly". www.ilga.gov. Retrieved 2021-06-28.
  8. "Scott P. Gillen". National Fallen Firefighters Foundation. Retrieved 2021-06-28.
  9. "Chicago Tribune: Chicago news, sports, weather, entertainment". chicagotribune.com. Retrieved 2021-06-28.
  10. "Chicago Tribune: Chicago news, sports, weather, entertainment". chicagotribune.com. Retrieved 2021-06-28.
  11. "Summary of HB0180". www.ilga.gov. Retrieved 2021-06-28.
  12. "Illinois General Assembly - Illinois Compiled Statutes". www.ilga.gov. Retrieved 2021-07-03.
  13. "Illinois General Assembly - Illinois Compiled Statutes". www.ilga.gov. Retrieved 2021-07-03.
  14. "Gov. Signs Package Backed by Butler to Strengthen Scott's Law". Springfield, IL Patch. 2019-07-30. Retrieved 2021-06-29.
  15. Fenbert, On Behalf of; Associates (2020-02-13). "Illinois Increases Fines for Scott's Law Violators". Fenbert & Associates. Retrieved 2021-06-28.
  16. Staff, WICS/WRSP (2021-03-24). "Illinois bill would increase penalty for Scott's Law violations". KHQA. Retrieved 2021-07-03.
  17. "Illinois General Assembly - Illinois Compiled Statutes". ilga.gov. Retrieved 2021-07-03.
  18. "Illinois General Assembly - Bill Status for SB1913". ilga.gov. Retrieved 2021-07-03.
  19. "Illinois Conservation Police seeking suspect who fled in Scott's Law crash". WAND-TV. Retrieved 2021-06-28.
  20. "Scott's Law In Illinois 625 ILCS 5/11-907(c)". IllinoisCaseLaw.com. 2020-03-18. Retrieved 2021-06-28.
  21. Newsroom, WIFR. "Illinois stiffens penalties for Scott's Law violators in 2020". wifr.com. Retrieved 2021-06-28.


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