By Jim Hagerty
ROCKFORD – Gov. J.B. Pritzker was in Rockford Tuesday and signed two pieces of legislation aimed to protect law enforcement officers.
The first bill, SB 1862, strengthens Scott’s Law, a state statute that mandates drivers to slow down, move over when approaching stopped police vehicles. Tuesday’s signing expands the law to include first responders, department of transportation workers, and anyone authorized to work on Illinois roadways. Fines are now $250 for a first offense, $750 for a second or subsequent violation, with a maximum of $10,000.
Violating Scott’s Law is also now Class A Misdemeanor if the offense results in damage to another vehicle. A offense can be charged as a Class 4 felony if someone is injured or killed.
The governor also signed SB 2038, which requires the Illinois Secretary of State to include a question relating to Scott’s Law violations on its written driver’s license examination.
“There are few times that this office weighs heavier on me than when we lose someone who has dedicated their life to our state,” Pritzker said. “The depth of grief by their families is boundless. That grief is compounded by the senselessness of a death caused by a driver who is distracted, or careless or rushed. This (law) is how we keep our heroes, our first responders – our workers – as safe as possible in their line of work. The people of Illinois get to live their lives because law enforcement officials go to work each day risking theirs.”
The new law creates the Move Over Task Force which will study Scott’s law violations and their causes.
Otherwise known as the “Move Over Law,” Scott’s Law is named after Chicago Fire Lieutenant Scott Gillen, who was killed by a drunk driver in 2000 while assisting at a crash on the Dan Ryan Expressway.
Tuesday’s signings come after two Illinois State Troopers were killed in the line of duty this year. Trooper Christopher Lambert died Jan. 12, after being struck by a car while he was investigating a prior crash on I-294 in Northbrook. Trooper Brooke Jones-Story was hit by a tractor-trailer in March during a traffic stop on Route 20 near Freeport.