Home crashes Weekend crashes add to a dangerous year for Illinois State Police

Weekend crashes add to a dangerous year for Illinois State Police

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Two traffic crashes over the weekend involving Illinois State Police troopers raised the total number of traffic crashes this year involving a trooper injury to 26.

Illinois State Police spokeswoman Tracy Lillard said all 26 crashes have been a direct result of motorists failing to move over and failing to use caution when a was trooper parked along the side of the road. By comparison, there were a total of eight crashes involving trooper injuries in all of 2018.

This has been the deadliest year on record in the history of the Illinois State Police. Four Illinois State Troopers have died this year in the line of duty. Three of the deaths were traffic-related, with two being a direct result of a motorist not moving over.

As an effort to combat the sharp increase in the number of crashes resulting in injuries, the Illinois State Police has increased enforcement of Scott’s Law, which requires to drivers to move over when a vehicle is on the side of the road. Through Nov. 3, the Illinois State Police have issued 5,860 Scott’s Law violations. During the same time period in 2018, the agency issued a total of 728 tickets for Scott’s Law violations. 

Lillard said that in addition to stepped-up enforcement, the agency has ramped up its efforts to educate drivers about Scott’s Law.

“We are doing education on a daily basis, not only on social media, but with the use of our education officers, also during traffic stops troopers explain the law if someone is unaware of it,” Lillard said. 

Lillard is the statewide social media coordinator for the ISP.

The intent of Scott’s Law and the goal of Scott’s Law enforcement is “to get people out of that adjacent lane,” Lillard said.

She said troopers understand that’s not always possible, “but, the law then also reads you must slow down and proceed with due caution.”

Scott’s Law was enacted in 2002. It requires drivers approaching stopped emergency vehicles to slow down and move over, changing lanes if possible. In 2017, the law was updated to include any stationary vehicle with lights flashing. That includes tow trucks, IDOT vehicles, or any other type of stopped vehicle on the side of the roadway, including stranded motorists with hazard lights activated.

Scott’s Law fines begin at $250 for the first violation and $750 for a second. Lillard said the fines for violations can go as high as $10,000 and motorists could get a license suspended for up to two years. Additionally, a ticket requires a mandatory court appearance.

“We want everyone to get home to their families,” Lillard said. “If you could move over, slow down and give us room, that makes everyone safer on the road.”