Abels & Annes

Chicago car accident lawyers join in urging motorists to move over, use caution around emergency vehicles

Lake County Police are aggressively enforcing laws requiring motorists to move over and slow down for emergency vehicles, according to the Daily Herald

It is a good reminder for all motorists to move over and slow down when approaching emergency vehicles and to yield to emergency vehicles running with lights and sirens.

The Chicago car accident lawyers at Abels & Annes also remind motorists to pay special attention to the vehicles around you in such situations. Driving defensively is the best offense to avoiding an accident that seriously injures you or someone else.

While common sense should prevail, the Lake County figures show drivers in increasing numbers are not obeying Scott’s Law, named for Lieutenant Scott Gillen of the Chicago Fire Department who was struck and killed in 2000 by an intoxicated driver on the Dan Ryan Expressway.

Lake County authorities handed out 25 tickets to motorists in violation of the law in 2002, compared to 68 last year and 119 in the first six months of this year.

“Every day, law enforcement officers, firefighters, emergency response personnel, and highway workers place their lives in jeopardy to protect the citizens of the state of Illinois. The most important thing we do is to ensure citizens return home safely to their families,” said Illinois State Police Director Director LarryTrent. “Scott’s Law helps these workers safely perform their duties so that they, too, can return home to their families each day.”

Since the legislation was enacted in 2002, the Illinois State Police has issued a total of more than 20,000 violations to motorists for non-compliance with the statute.

The law requires motorists to yield to moving emergency vehicles, including highway maintenance vehicles, displaying oscillating, rotating, or flashing lights. Additionally, Scott’s Law requires a driver to change lanes (if safe to do so) or reduce speed and proceed with caution when approaching a stationary emergency vehicle displaying flashing warning lights.

Violators in Lake County face a $100 to $200 fine and can face traffic school and court supervision. However, the penalty can escalate to a $10,000 fine and a three-year license suspension for anyone who destroys property or injures someone in violation of the law.

“It has just gotten to the point where something has to be done,” Lake County Sheriff’s Sgt. Curt Gregory said. “It seems like hardly anyone is aware of what the danger in this is, and we have got to get the word out.”

The message is simple.

“We just want to get the word out that this is a disaster waiting to happen,” he said. “All we are asking is to be able to do our job in an environment that is not unnecessarily dangerous.”