How many people have ever seen an emergency vehicle on the side of the road and have never gotten over to the other side of the road to ensure that there will be no harm to that particular vehicle? Well if you haven’t already heard, there is a fairly new law that states that you must try to get over to the left side if there is a car on the right hand side of the road to prevent an accident from happening. This law is called Scotts Law, which is also known as the “Move Over Law.” Scott's Law was named after Lieutenant Scott Gillen of the Chicago Fire Department who was tragically struck and killed by an intoxicated driver while assisting at a crash (Scott’s killer is still serving out his 13 year sentence). In 2001, a bunch of Illinois politicians lead by Lieutenant Governor Corinne Wood got together to pass "Scott's Law" to punish people who drive recklessly near emergency workers. According to the state police website, Scott's Law, 625 ILCS 5/11-907(c), "mandates that upon approaching a stationary emergency automobile one must reduce speed, change lanes if possible, and proceed with due caution." Violation of Scott's Law can result in some severe punishments. According to the state police website, "a person who is in violation of Scott's Law is going to be cited no less than a $100 fine and no more than a $10,000 fine." Scott's Law also provides that it is a "factor in aggravation if the person committed the offense while under the influence of alcohol, drugs or intoxicating compounds, stated the state police." If this is the case, a person's driving privileges shall be: "Suspended for 90 days to one year if the violation results in damage to the property of another person, 180 days to 2 years if the violation results in injury to another person, and 2 years if the violation results in the death of another person, stated the state police website."
As a result to doing research on this particular law, I found a few things that I felt were interesting. There are also a few things I don’t necessarily agree with. This law was passed because a reckless drunk driver killed an emergency worker in a car accident. However, the new law states that a driver can be punished even if no one is killed or injured. The law also doesn’t even require that there be an actual accident. A person can be pulled over and given at least a $100 citation for just simply driving to close to an emergency vehicle on the side of the road. I understand the point of this law, but I feel that maybe they should have some different standards. I also feel that this law should pertain to any vehicle on the side of the road and not just an emergency vehicle. Any vehicle that is pulled over on the side of the road is at risk for an accident, so I feel that the law should be applied to everyone! Overall, I hope that everyone now has a better understanding of the “Move Over Law,” and will now try to switch lanes if possible, reduce speed, and continue with caution when they see an emergency vehicle or any vehicle on the shoulder of the road.