SPRINGFIELD (WREX) — Governor JB Pritzker and state lawmakers unveiled legislation Tuesday to strengthen Scott’s Law and understand how to better stop more roadway fatalities.
Two Illinois State Police Troopers have died this year as a result of a Scott’s Law violation, including Trooper Brooke Jones-Story, who was hit by a semi-truck while inspecting a vehicle on Route 20 back in March.
“Scott’s Law says that drivers approaching a vehicle with their hazard lights on must slow down and move over. The legislation we’re announcing today enhances penalties for those who don’t obey the law and raises awareness for those who don’t even know Scott’s Law exists,” said Gov. JB Pritzker. “No one’s time or convenience is worth more than the lives of our state’s heroes.”
The proposal is addressed with two separate pieces of legislation. The first, SB 1862, takes several steps to strengthen Scott’s Law:
- Expands Scott’s Law protections to include a stationary authorized vehicle with oscillating lights, first responders, IDOT workers, law enforcement officers and any individual authorized to be on the highway within the scope of their employment or job duties;
- Increases the minimum fine to $250 for a first violation of Scott’s Law and to $750 for a second or subsequent violation;
- Adds $250 assessment fee for any violation of Scott’s Law to be deposited into a new dedicated fund to produce driver education materials, called the Scott’s Law Fund;
- Increases criminal penalty to a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in jail, if violation results in damage to another vehicle or a Class 4 felony, punishable by up to one to three years in prison, if violation results in an injury or death of another person;
- Amends the Criminal Code of 2012 to include firefighter and emergency medical service personnel while acting within the scope of their official duties;
- Adds aggravating factors to reckless homicide charges if Scott’s Law was violated;
- Requires the Secretary of State to include written question on Scott’s Law in driver’s license test.
The second piece of legislation, SB 2038, creates a Move Over Task Force to study the issue of violations of Scott’s Law, disabled vehicle law, and stationary authorized emergency vehicle law, with attention to the causes of the violations and ways to protect law enforcement and emergency responders. Here’s who will make up the task force:
- the Director of Illinois State Police (ISP) or his or her designee (serves as Chair);
- the Governor of Illinois of his or her designee;
- the Secretary of State or his or her designee;
- the Secretary of Transportation (IDOT) or his or her designee;
- the Director of the Illinois Toll Highway Authority or his or her designee;
- the President of the Illinois State’s Attorneys Association or his or her designee;
- the President of the Illinois Sheriffs’ Association or his or her designee;
- the President of the Illinois Fraternal Order of Police or his or her designee;
- the President of the Associated Fire Fighters of Illinois or his or her designee;
- one member appointed by the Speaker of the House of Representatives;
- one member appointed by the Minority Leader of the House of Representatives;
- one member appointed by the President of the Senate;
- one member appointed by the Minority Leader of the Senate;
- the following to be appointed by the Governor:
- two representatives of different statewide trucking associations;
- one representative of a Chicago area motor club;
- one representative of a Chicago area transit safety alliance;
- one representative of a statewide broadcast association;
- one representative of a statewide towing organization;
- the chief of police of a municipality with a population under 25,000.
Members of the Task Force must serve without compensation and must meet no fewer than three times.
One of the co-sponsors of the legislation is Rep. John Cabello (R) of Machesney Park.
“This legislation is one way we’re working to protect the protectors,” said Rep. John Cabello. “Too many first responders have paid the ultimate price, and we are honoring their legacy by preventing even more tragic losses among our state’s heroes.”