CHICAGO – With a recent surge in crashes involving ISP troopers, Governor JB Pritzker and the Illinois State Police (ISP) are urging motorists to respect the Move Over Law and use caution when approaching emergency vehicles on interstates and roads.
So far in 2019, 14 ISP troopers have been struck by vehicles when they were pulled over to respond to highway incidents with their emergency lights activated. The tragic death of Trooper Christopher Lambert is among the 14 incidents, which far exceeds last year’s total of eight troopers.
“I'm here today to say to drivers on the roads: When you see a state trooper’s vehicle on the side of the road, slow down, obey the law and move over,” said Gov. JB Pritzker. “Our state troopers are putting their lives on the line every single day. They are our heroes and first responders, keeping people safe. No driver needs to get to their destination so quickly that they need to put a trooper’s life at risk. No one’s time or convenience is worth more than the lives of our state’s heroes.”
Also known as “Scott’s Law,” the Move Over Law was enacted in 2002 in memory of Lieutenant Scott Gillen of the Chicago Fire Department. LT Gillen was struck and killed on December 23, 2000, by an intoxicated driver on the Dan Ryan Expressway while assisting at a crash scene.
“This alarming number already exceeds last year’s total of eight and averages more than one Trooper a week. It is simply unacceptable. And while this issue is directly impacting our agency, we are one of many roadway users affected by this problem,” said ISP Acting Director Brendan Kelly. “Scott’s Law not only applies to emergency vehicles, but also includes the general public who are having car troubles and are stuck roadside until help arrives. Our hope in bringing this to the public’s attention through our struggle, is that it increases the safety of all roadway users in their time of need. Our agency, with the support of Governor Pritzker, has made this issue a priority.”
The Move Over Law requires motorists to approach with caution and yield to emergency vehicles, including highway maintenance vehicles displaying oscillating, rotating or flashing lights. Drivers must change lanes if they can do so safely or reduce speed and proceed with caution if unable to change lanes.
Though not an exhaustive list, this would include police, fire, emergency medical system, construction and towing vehicles. As of January 1, 2017, the law was also updated to include the general public when they are roadside with their emergency four-way flashers activated.
Violators of the Move Over Law are mandated to appear in court. Additionally, they can be fined not less than $100 or more than $10,000 and have their driver’s license suspended for up to two years if the violation involves injury to another.