Scott’s Law is a law in the state of Illinois that is named after firefighter Lieutenant Scott Gillen, who was struck and killed by a drunk driver while trying to provide assistance to an injured individual on the side of a Chicago road. Today, Scott’s Law requires that drivers pull into the furthest lane possible and reduce their speed when passing any vehicle on the side of the road with hazard lights flashing.
Versions of this law are in place in most states, and all due to the tragic death of first responders, police officers, and even civilians trying to render aid on the side of the road. By requiring vehicles to move over at least one lane, when possible, and to decrease their speed, the risk of this type of an unnecessary accident can be dramatically lowered.
In the state of Illinois in 2019, there were 26 accidents involving police cars pulled over to the side of the road, resulting in two officer deaths. In 2018 there were 728 citations under the law in the state, and in 2019, primarily due to the increased accidents involving emergency vehicles on the side of the road, the number of citations exceeded 6000 by the first week in November.
Penalties to Consider
There are no warning tickets issued with a violation of Scott’s Law. First offenses result in a penalty of $500, up from $250, and a second offense will increase to $1000 from $750. Currently, there is a maximum fine in place of up to $10,000 for the offense.
In addition to the fines, those violating the law and causing physical harm or death through an accident with an emergency vehicle on the side of the road have the potential to be charged with a Class 2 felony in the state. This carries a sentence of a minimum of three and a maximum of seven years in prison.
In some cases, a driver may be charged under Scott’s Law but still have a defense t the charge. For example, the other vehicles may have prevented the driver from moving into the far lane, or the emergency vehicle could have been impossible to see on a curve or over the hill on a roadway.
The Driver Defense Team can assess your case and assist you in challenging a charge under Scott’s Law. Talking to our legal team is the first step in evaluating your case and understanding your options.