There are plenty of hazards that appear on the road while you are driving. Whether it’s an animal crossing accident, a flat tire, or your car breaking down, at some point you might have to pull over onto the shoulder, turn your four-ways on, and wait for help.
While you’re stopped on the side of the road in a situation like this, another motorist could cause an even worse situation if they drive too closely to you, are distracted, or if they’re impaired. This isn’t a unique and dangerous situation for regular motorists. When emergency vehicles or police officers are on the shoulder trying to do their jobs, they are also in danger.
While it’s common for most drivers to think that slowing down and moving over for cars, trucks, and emergency vehicles that are stopped on the shoulder is simply a courteous thing to do, you might be surprised to know that by law, you are actually required to do this in the state of Illinois.
The “Move Over, Slow Down” Law, which is also known as Scott’s Law, requires drivers to move over and slow down for stopped emergency, maintenance, and commercial vehicles that are flashing their emergency lights. At first, this law only applied to emergency vehicles, but in 2017, it was expanded to include all vehicles that are parked on the shoulder with their hazard lights on.
This law is named in honor of Lieutenant Scott Gillen of the Chicago Fire Department who was killed by a drunk driver on the Dan Ryan Expressway while attending to a crash on the side of the road in 2000. Had the driver moved over and slowed down, Scott Gillen might still be here today.
Even though this law benefits everyone’s safety, some drivers don’t abide by the law. In 2019, Illinois State Trooper, Brooke Jones-Story, was killed in a collision while inspecting a commercial motor vehicle on the side of the road. Several months later trooper Christopher Lambert was killed while assisting with a multiple-vehicle crash. Just a year before that, a construction site flagger, Frank Caputo, was struck and killed by a negligent driver as well. These unnecessary deaths led to a push in strengthening Scott’s Law.
How This Law Applies to You
Effective January 1 of this year, the fine for a first offense of Scott’s Law is $250, and all violators are charged a $250 fee to fund education and enforcement of the law. All subsequent violation fees start at $750. Additionally, if a driver causes injury or death they will be charged with a Class 4 felony.
Police are aiming to crack down on drivers who don’t follow this law because the failure to slow down and move over can easily result in a deadly collision or cause catastrophic injuries for anyone stopped on the shoulder. They also have a task force assembled to study Scott’s Law violations and report to the Illinois General Assembly on how to best protect those stopped on the shoulder.
Car accidents can change your life. Not only can your physical and emotional health be negatively affected by the injuries from a car crash, but your financial health can also be impacted by medical bills, lost wages, and any other damages. At Krzak Rundio Gorman, Injury Attorneys, we may be able to help you navigate the complexities of your case, and use our years of experience to fight for the compensation you deserve. If you were in a car accident that wasn’t your fault, reach out to our office today so we can provide a free no-obligation consultation to discuss your legal options.