Scott’s Law – Also Known As The Illinois “Move Over” Law

Scott’s Law is an Illinois law that has recently been getting more attention – and more enforcement. One reason for the increasing recognition is a surge in Illinois State Police (ISP) Troopers who have been hit by passing vehicles. These Troopers were pulled over at the time of the accidents, with emergency lights activated. As of March 25, 2019, 14 ISP Troopers had been hit by passing vehicles in 2019.

Scott’s Law is also known as the “Move Over” law. It can also be considered the “Rules Of The Road” when a driver approaches emergency vehicles stopped on the side of the road. It dictates lawful operation with regard to passing a stopped emergency vehicle with its flashing lights activated. It is a regulation with the goal of avoiding accidents and the accompanying injuries and deaths that can occur.

The two main directives from the law is to 

  • slow down and 
  • move over when there is a stopped emergency vehicle, or a maintenance or construction vehicle with flashing lights. These flashing lights can be of various colors. Applicable emergency or maintenance vehicles include fire trucks, ambulances, police cars, tow trucks, maintenance and construction vehicles.

If possible, the oncoming driver should change to a lane away from the stopped vehicle and proceed with caution.

Scott’s Law is discussed on the Illinois State Police page titled “Scott’s Law” (pdf) subtitled “The Move Over Law.”

An excerpt from this Scott’s Law page:

As of January 1, 2017, the Move Over Law now applies to all vehicles that display flashing emergency lights, including commercial trucks and cars; the law is no longer limited to authorized emergency vehicles — i.e. police cruisers, ambulances, and fire trucks.

Another excerpt, from the Illinois State Police news release of March 25, 2019 titled “WITH SURGE OF CRASHES INVOLVING ISP TROOPERS, GOV. PRITZKER AND ILLINOIS STATE POLICE URGE MOTORISTS TO FOLLOW “MOVE OVER” LAW“:

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.

The law was named after Chicago Fire Department Lieutenant Scott Gillen. In 2000, he was fatally struck by a drunk driver as he was assisting at an accident scene on the Dan Ryan Expressway.

Of note, Scott’s Law does not currently specify to what speed the driver should decelerate to. As well, it does not specify how much room to leave between the driver’s vehicle and that of the stopped emergency vehicle, tow truck, maintenance vehicle, or other applicable vehicle.

Additional details regarding this Illinois traffic safety regulation can be seen in the sources mentioned above.

Driver Distraction Illinois Law Penalties Increasing July 1, 2019

Driver distraction can occur for many reasons. The reasons vary significantly, from eating while driving, to trying to figure out a car entertainment system while driving. However, the most frequent cause of current-era driver distraction is related to phone use. Such phone use while driving includes texting, checking for messages, and other mobile phone use.

Distracted driving remains a primary traffic safety problem. It often leads to loss of vehicle control accidents.   As seen in many DuPage County crashes, as well as those throughout Illinois, such loss of control crashes often lead to serious accident injuries for those involved.

For various reasons, the number of accidents caused by driver distraction is likely highly understated. As mentioned in the June 15, 2019 Wall Street Journal article titled “Car Companies Sharpen Focus on Curbing Distracted Driving,” the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) says that in 2017 (the most recent available data) 3166 (9% of) roadway deaths were attributed to driver distraction. However, as stated in the article, this figure is likely much higher.

The threat to traffic safety caused by inattentive drivers is further seen in many statistics and surveys. Additional discussion regarding distracted driving, including its dangers and various statistics, is seen on the “Distracted Driving” page.

As discussed on the June 17, 2019 Daily Herald article titled “Starting July 1, no more free passes for texting (or holding your phone at all) and driving” the penalties associated with the Illinois distracted driving law will increase as of July 1, 2019.

An excerpt from the article:

Illinois’ law banning driving and texting is now five years old, and drivers caught violating it will face a stiffer penalty as of July 1.

Scofflaws who text, talk or use any hand-held devices behind the wheel will receive a ticket for a moving violation. Three moving violations in a 12-month period will lead to a license suspension.

The article also provides statistics as to the frequency of Illinois driver distraction.

Fines for the distracted driving ticket will be a maximum of $75 for the first offense; $100 for the second offense; $125 on the third offense; and $150 for all future citations.

Under the current law (that effective until July 1) drivers got a warning and no fine the first time offense.

Additional details regarding these driver distraction issues can be seen in the sources mentioned above.

Roadways Prone To Accidents Located In DuPage County

Roadways prone to accidents can occur for many reasons. Among these reasons are overly complicated roadway designs; too much traffic for a given roadway; a lack of suitable traffic control devices; and too little traffic safety enforcement. As well, in addition to these factors, accidents with injuries are more prone to happen if vehicles are traveling at excessive speed, as discussed on the “Speed As An Accident Cause And The Potential For Serious Injuries” page.

These roadways prone to accidents are a traffic safety concern as they often lead to accidents with injuries.  In the Chicago area there are many intersections which are considered due to various reasons to be “dangerous intersections” or intersections in which accidents frequently occur.  A broad range of accident types can occur, including “T-bone crashes”, “rear-end collisions,” pedestrian accidents, and bicycle accidents.  Often, a history of frequent accidents will lead to changes in the design of the roadways and intersections to reduce the possibility of additional accidents.

NBC Chicago ran a segment (video and article) on February 6, 2019 titled “Chicago-Area Drivers Navigate ‘Confusing’ Intersections.”  The video shows various roadways and intersections in the Chicago area – including those in Chicago, and several in DuPage County – including Naperville, Lisle, and Clarendon Hills. 

An excerpt from the article:

NBC 5 Investigates contacted transportation experts and dozens of area police departments to learn what they considered to be the potentially confusing new or old roadway designs.

In the article and video, among the DuPage County roadways prone to accidents include the interchange at I-88 and Route 59 in Naperville and
Route 53 and Maple Avenue in Lisle.

Also shown in the video is the convergence of Holmes Ave., Eastern Ave., and Harrison in Clarendon Hills. This convergence is becoming less of a traffic safety issue due to increased stop sign enforcement.

Additional details regarding these DuPage County roadways prone to accidents can be seen in the article mentioned above.

Road Hazards And The Danger Presented To Illinois Motorists

The threat to safe driving presented by road hazards is discussed on the “DuPage County Road Hazards” page.  As seen on that page, road hazards can take many forms.  Among the most dangerous road hazards are those objects that hit vehicles as they drive down the expressway or other roadway.  These objects can include tires and wheels which have detached (often called “wheel separations”) from other vehicles.

Other types of road hazards can include high standing water on the roadway.  Depending on the depth of the water and other characteristics, this standing water can cause hydroplaning or other adverse impacts on vehicle handling, which can lead to a loss of vehicle control.

One of the reasons that road hazards are potentially dangerous is that they often are unexpected; as well, they can suddenly appear and as such may leave the motorist with little reaction time to successfully react to the hazard.

As well, if the motorist is driving at night or other situations with limited visibility, these road hazards can be especially problematical.

On August 30, 2018 NBC Chicago aired a video segment titled “More Than 9,000 Crashes on Illinois Roads Caused By Debris.”  The segment discusses one type of road hazard, debris that is sitting on the roadway.  If hit or run over by a vehicle, such debris can cause a range of adverse effects, including a loss of control and/or a crash.

An excerpt from the article:

Seventeen people have been killed in crashes caused by debris on Illinois roadways, according to the Illinois Department of Transportation’s most recent data.

From 2012 to 2016, more than 9,000 accidents have resulted in more than 1,500 people injured.

As seen in the segment, there is a wide range of items that IDOT has found on the roadway, including kitchen sinks, grills, and mattresses.

Additional details and possible updates concerning road hazards and road debris can be seen in the sources mentioned above.

New Illinois Distracted Driving Law Effective July 2019

Distracted driving continues to be a major traffic safety issue nationally, as well as in DuPage County and throughout Illinois.  There are many possible actions that can lead to a driver being distracted to the point where the driver is susceptible to a loss of vehicle control.   Two of the most problematical actions that frequently lead to distracted driving is the use of cell phones while driving as well as texting while driving.

A recent study, which is discussed in the April 2, 2018 post titled “‘Distracted Driving’ Seen As Top Threat To Traffic Safety” indicates that such driving was seen by motorists as the top threat to traffic safety.

There are many reasons why distracted driving is such a traffic hazard and often leads to loss of vehicle control accidents.   Loss of control accidents often lead to serious injuries for both the occupants of the vehicle that has lost control as well as any other individuals involved in the crash.

Various reasons as to why distracted driving is hazardous, as well as various statistics, are further discussed on the “Distracted Driving” page.

Recently, a new Illinois law (further) addresses distracted driving.  The Daily Herald article of August 22, 2018 (“Why Illinois is making penalties for texting while driving tougher“) discusses the new law and various statistics regarding driver distraction.  An excerpt:

State Sen. Cristina Castro, an Elgin Democrat who sponsored the legislation, says penalties under the current law, which went into effect in 2014, haven’t done enough to curb motorists from using cellphones while driving. In 2017, about 9 percent of Illinois motorists were observed using electronic devices while driving, according to the Illinois Department of Transportation. Nationwide, distracted driving caused 3,450 deaths in 2016.

also, with regard to the new law:

The stricter penalties, which go into effect on July 1, 2019, were signed into law last week. People who illegally use handheld electronic devices while driving will be given a moving violation on the first offense instead of a nonmoving violation. Motorists who rack up three moving violations within a year can have their driver’s license suspended.

An excerpt regarding this new law and its penalties regarding distracted driving, from the August 17, 2018 Chicago Tribune article titled “New distracted driving fine, bike safety rule signed into law“:

One law signed by Gov. Bruce Rauner imposes a harsher penalty on drivers caught using a phone behind the wheel without a hands-free device.

The new law, which goes into effect next July, makes the penalty $75 for a first offense, $100 for a second, $125 for a third and $150 for a fourth or subsequent offense. Under current law, drivers get a warning and no fine the first time.

Additional details regarding these distracted driving issues can be seen in the sources mentioned above, as well as the August 16 NBC Chicago article (with video) titled “Illinois To Impose Tougher Penalty for Texting While Driving.”

High-Speed Motorcycle Riding Incident On Randall Road In St. Charles

High-speed motorcycle riding often occurs in Illinois.  This high-speed riding appears to be among the most common forms of high-risk riding.  Other high-risk actions include doing “wheelies” and other types of stunt riding.  Other “risky” actions include taking curves at high speeds, as well as riding after drinking, which is a primary cause of accidents.  Various types of high-risk riding is further discussed on the “High-Risk Motorcyclist Actions” page.

Riding at excessive speeds is especially hazardous as it can lead to a loss of motorcycle control, which often results in a crash.  As seen in the DuPage County motorcycle accidents discussed on this site – as well as those crashes throughout Illinois – a high-speed crash often leads to life-threatening injuries that can result in a fatality.

The Daily Herald article of June 22, 2018 titled “1-year motorcycle ban for St. Charles man in 143 mph chase posted on YouTube” discusses a July 2017 incident in St. Charles in which a motorcyclist was arrested after eluding police.  The motorcyclist at one point was said to be riding 143 mph on Randall Road.

An excerpt from the article:

A 24-year-old man who was arrested after posting a YouTube video showing him going 143 mph on his motorcycle while evading St. Charles police, pleaded guilty Friday to a reduced charge and was sentenced to a form of probation and banned from riding for a year.

Brian A. Bianco, of the 36W600 block of Oak Road near St. Charles, was arrested in July 2017 and charged with three felony counts of fleeing and eluding police, along with a misdemeanor charge of disobeying a police officer.

also:

On Friday, Kane County prosecutors dismissed the most severe charges in exchange for Bianco pleading guilty to reckless driving, a misdemeanor, court records show.

Additional information concerning high-speed motorcycle riding can be seen in the sources mentioned above.

“Distracted Driving” Mentioned As Top Traffic Safety Threat

“Distracted driving” remains one of the foremost threats to traffic safety.  While there are many behaviors that can lead to a driver being sufficiently distracted to the point of not being able to safely drive, texting and other cellphone usage remains the most problematical.  It is common to see drivers in DuPage County and the broader Chicago area to be texting or otherwise distracted while driving.

Various aspects of “distracted driving” – including how often it happens, why it is dangerous, and relevant Illinois laws – are discussed on the “Distracted Driving” page.

An excerpt from that page:

Texting while driving is particularly hazardous, for a number of reasons.  One reason is that texting while driving distractions are frequent and protracted in nature.  According to the CDC, texting is one distraction that takes the driver’s attention away from driving on a more frequent basis – and for longer periods – than other distractions.

Additionally, texting appears to be particularly prevalent among younger drivers.  In another 2011 study, the CDC found that “nearly half of all U.S. high school students aged 16 years or older text or email while driving.”

On March 29, 2018 the AAA Foundation For Traffic Safety released survey results from the annual Traffic Safety Culture Index regarding distracted driving.  The survey shows that distracted driving was the most popular response of growing traffic safety dangers.

An excerpt from the “Distraction Tops Drivers’ List of Growing Dangers on the Road” post:

Drivers in the AAA survey believe the problem of distracted driving has increased over the past three years, with nearly 50 percent reporting that they regularly see drivers emailing or texting while driving. Counterintuitively, federal estimates show the number of distracted driving crashes has actually dropped two percent. This may be due to the fact that it is difficult to detect distraction following a crash which makes distracted driving one of the most underreported traffic safety issues. According to government estimates, distraction plays a factor in just 14 percent of all crashes. However, past AAA Foundation research looking into teen drivers (one of the most vulnerable driving populations), used in-vehicle dash-cam videos to determine that distraction was a factor in 58 percent of crashes, 44 percent more than federal estimates.

The AAA post also mentions tips to help drivers from becoming “distracted” while driving.

Additional information concerning the dangers of driver distraction can be seen in the sources mentioned above.

Drug-Impaired Driving That Occurs In DuPage County

Drug-impaired driving is becoming far more common, and it is a serious traffic safety issue.  Many accidents – some which have led to fatal injuries – have occurred in the Chicago area in which the driver was driving while drug-impaired.  Many other non-fatal accident injuries of a serious nature have occurred because of driver impairment due to drug use.

On this site, the topic of “drugged driving” – particularly as it relates to DuPage County – is discussed on the “Vehicle Accidents Involving Drivers Under The Influence Of Drugs” page.

There are many drugs that have been used by Chicago area drug-impaired drivers.  Among the most common drugs are marijuana, cocaine, heroin, and meth.  The effect these drugs have on the driver varies according to many factors, including the amount of drug used, the type of drug, how long before driving the drug was used, and whether there was “mixed” drug use.  As well, another important factor is whether alcohol was also consumed.  Due to these many factors, it can be hard to predict the impact that drugs have on the ability to safely drive a vehicle.

On March 13, 2018, CBS Chicago aired a segment (video with article) titled “Driving While High:  Just How Dangerous Is It?”   The segment discusses various aspects of driver impairment caused by marijuana usage, and how the trends in driver impairment may change if recreational marijuana use is legalized in Illinois.  As well, drug-impaired driving in Riverside is mentioned.

An excerpt from the article:

At the National Advanced Driving Simulator (NADS) in Iowa, researchers are testing how people drive when they’re high.

“What we see here is the driver drifting off the roadway as they’re trying to turn a corner,” Timothy Brown said, a NADS researcher.

And the more pot they consumed, the worse they drove, according to their tests. But, unlike alcohol, where anything over .08 is considered intoxicated, there’s no magic number for pot yet.

Additional details regarding these drug-impaired driving issues can be seen in the sources mentioned above.

The Danger Posed By Road Hazards In DuPage County

There are many reasons why vehicle accidents occur.  One reason is when a road hazard causes a vehicle to crash.  These crashes caused by road hazards are often serious in nature as they frequently happen at higher speeds, such as when a car is traveling on a highway or expressway.

The subject of road hazards – and the danger they pose to motorists – is further discussed on the “DuPage County Road Hazards” page.  An excerpt from that page:

Another type of road hazard is “flying tires” or wheel separations.  In these instances, a vehicle has “lost a tire” or wheel, and these present a hazard to motorists who are traveling in the path of the wheel or tire as it rolls down the roadway.

A fatal accident of that type occurred on March 6, 2018.  The accident happened on I-80 near Joliet.  The accident is summarized in the post titled “Road Hazard Causes Fatal I-80 Accident Near Joliet.”  As seen in that post, the accident happened after a wheel hub assembly, which typically weighs 100 lbs, fell of off a semi truck.  This item then traveled into the opposing lanes of the expressway and hit an oncoming SUV.  The SUV’s windshield was struck and the driver was killed.

Lawsuits can be filed over accident injuries caused by road hazards.  A fatality that occurs in an accident such as that mentioned above, if caused by the negligence of another person or party, often leads to the filing of a wrongful death lawsuit.  These lawsuits are often filed by relevant parties on behalf of the person that has died, i.e. the decedent.

The subject of wrongful death lawsuits – including the types of situations that may lead to the successful filing of a wrongful death lawsuit – are further discussed on the “Wrongful Death Lawsuits Stemming From DuPage County Accidents” page.  One such wrongful death lawsuit was filed after a Naperville accident in which a person who was walking was fatally hit by a car.

Additional details concerning these topics can be seen in the sources mentioned above.

Trends Concerning Motor-Vehicle Deaths In The U.S.

Motor-vehicle deaths and the national trends is discussed in the February 16, 2018 Wall Street Journal article titled “U.S. Road-Death Rates Remain Near 10-Year High.”   The article discusses trends in fatal vehicle accidents, as well as technologies that are utilized to improve driving safety.

Notable excerpts include:

U.S. motor-vehicle deaths remained near decade-high levels in 2017, an indication U.S. roadways aren’t getting any safer, even as auto makers equip cars with more safety gear and many other developed countries make notable strides in reducing highway fatalities.
The National Safety Council said Thursday traffic-related fatalities hit 40,100 last year, the second year in a row the 40,000 mark was surpassed.
Motor-vehicle deaths had steadily declined in the decade leading to 2016. But a surge in driver distraction, increased miles driven and other factors have driven the closely watched number up at an alarming rate.
Among the safety features that are mentioned in the article are blind spot alert, automatic braking, adaptive cruise control and lane keep assist (lka.)  Statistics as to how many vehicles sold have these technologies are shown in the article.
Another issue that is discussed in the article is that of drug-impaired driving.  An excerpt from the article:
NHTSA in March will launch a campaign against drug-impaired driving, which it has identified as key to reducing traffic fatalities. “We know that many people switch between use of alcohol and illicit drugs, or consume them together, and we need to consider both,” Heidi King, the agency’s de facto chief, said during the hearing before a House panel.
On this site, that traffic safety issue and how it impacts DuPage County is discussed on the “Vehicle Accidents Involving Drivers Under The Influence Of Drugs” page.  As seen on that page, accidents in which the driver is impaired by drug use (often referred to as “drugged driving”) has been increasing in the Chicago area and has led to many accidents.  The injuries in many of these accidents are serious in nature, and some had led to fatalities.