SPRINGFIELD (WREX) — A dangerous trend has returned to Illinois, two years after three Illinois State Police troopers were killed.
Scott's Law crashes involving Illinois State Police troopers are on the rise so far in 2021, with 10 crashes reported since Jan. 1. Three of the Scott's Law crashes happened on just one day—Feb. 16.
Scott's Law, also known as the Move Over Law, requires Illinois drivers to slow down and safely change lanes when a vehicle with flashing hazard lights is on the side of the road.
After a deadly year in 2019, the Illinois General Assembly passed a law strengthening Scott's Law to include every vehicle, not just emergency vehicles and tow trucks. Gov. JB Pritzker signed the bill into law in Rockford, after Trooper Brooke Jones-Story, of Stockton, was killed because of a Scott's Law violation in Freeport.
In response to the deadly Scott's Law crashes in 2019, the state established a Move Over Task Force to study violations of Scott's Law and to help better protect emergency personnel working on highways and interstates. Illinois State Police also launched an interactive map showing detailed reports from each Scott's Law violation, in hopes drivers will be more aware on the roads.
Out of the 10 Scott's Law crashes in 2021, six have left troopers with injuries. One of the crashes, in Will County on Feb. 15, left a trooper seriously injured. None of the crashes in 2021 have been deadly, however Illinois State Police Director Brendan Kelly said one Scott's Law crash is too many.
"...this about more than just obeying the law," Kelly said. "It’s about basic decency and respect for the very lives of the brave souls on our streets simply trying to help the public.”
In eight out of the 10 crashes in 2021, the troopers were either responding to a crash, or helping drivers stuck in the snow. On Feb. 13, in Winnebago County, a trooper was helping a driver change a tire when the trooper's squad was struck on I-39.
“Scott’s Law is critical to keeping our first responders safe as they heroically serve us on our roadways,” said Gov. JB Pritzker. “Especially now, as we continue to experience extreme winter weather, it is imperative that drivers slow down and move over as they approach a vehicle with their hazard lights on. I’m praying for our Illinois State Police troopers who have been injured in the line of duty in recent days and imploring all Illinoisans to drive safely and follow the law.”