State Representative John M. Cabello, R-Machesney Park, has filed legislation to toughen criminal penalties for motorists who violate “Scott’s Law” and jeopardize the lives of law enforcement and emergency response personnel on Illinois’ roadways. The bill is scheduled for a hearing in the House Transportation: Vehicles & Safety Committee at 8:00 a.m. on Thursday, April 4 at the Capitol.
Representative Cabello’s legislation, House Bill 1875, would increase criminal penalties for violations of Scott’s Law to:
- 1-3 years in prison and a fine of up to $25,000 for the first violation (no property damage or injury)
- 2-5 years in prison and suspension of driving privileges for 5 years if another person is injured as a result of the violation
- 3-7 years in prison and permanent revocation of driving privileges if the violation results in the death of another person
“Sixteen state troopers have been hit on Illinois highways so far this year, three of them fatal,” Cabello said. “Most of these incidents involved violations of Scott’s Law. We need to do a better job of educating the public about road safety laws when an emergency vehicle is present and hold offenders more accountable when they injure or kill someone as a result of their failure to abide by Scott’s Law.”
Representative Cabello is working with the Governor’s Office, House Democrats and Republicans to strengthen criminal penalties for violations of Scott’s Law. The provisions of House Bill 1875 could be wrapped into a new bill moving forward.
Also known as the “Move Over” law, Scott’s Law requires that when approaching any vehicle equipped with oscillating, rotating, or flashing lights stopped along the roadway while the owner or operator of the vehicle is engaged in his or her official duties, a motorist must reduce speed, change lanes if possible, and proceed with due caution. Currently, a violation of Scott’s Law is punishable by a fine of not more than $10,000. If the driver was under the influence of alcohol or drugs at the time of the offense, their driving privileges are suspended for 90 days to one year if the violation results in damage to the property of another person; 180 days to 2 years if the violation results in injury to another person; or 2 years if the violation results in the death of another person.
An authorized emergency vehicle under Scott’s Law, includes ANY vehicle authorized by law to be equipped with oscillating, rotating, or flashing lights, while the owner or operator of the vehicle is engaged in his or her official duties.
Scott’s Law was named after Lieutenant Scott Gillen of the Chicago Fire Department who was struck and killed by an intoxicated driver while assisting at a crash on the Dan Ryan Expressway in December 2000.
Representative Cabello serves the 68th District, which includes portions of Rockford, Loves Park, Machesney Park and Cherry Valley.