Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White is issuing an urgent reminder to motorists to adhere to the state’s Move Over Law, also known as Scott’s Law, designed to protect law enforcement and emergency responders who are stopped on the side of roadways. White also underscored the importance of not driving while distracted – with a special emphasis on avoiding texting while driving at all times.
“Since the beginning of the year, 10 Illinois State Police troopers have been victims of Scott’s Law-related crashes,” said White. “I am issuing a call to action: Pay attention while driving. If you see a stopped emergency vehicle on the side of the road, reduce speed and change lanes if possible.”
White has taken steps over the last few years to increase public awareness about protecting those who protect us. His office added a reminder about the Move Over Law to driver’s license and vehicle registration renewal notices, produced an educational brochure and added a test question to the written driving exam. In addition, he initiated a law that further strengthened the state’s efforts to combat texting while driving.
“We have a responsibility to drive safely,” said White. “And we have a duty to protect those who protect us by moving over when approaching a stopped emergency vehicle with lights flashing. Aside from that, it is the law.”
Motorists convicted of violating the Move Over Law face a minimum fine of $250 up to $10,000, and the offense goes on their driving record. Driving privileges can be suspended for 24 months in the event of a fatality and six months for a crash causing personal injury.
In addition, White called on motorists to avoid distracted driving and to stop texting while driving. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), a motorist traveling at 55 mph takes his or her eyes off the road on average for five seconds when sending or reading a text. This equates to driving blindly for the length of a football field.
White initiated a July 1, 2019, law that further cracked down on texting while driving by classifying first-time offenses as moving violations. Under the previous law, which took effect in 2014, second and subsequent texting while driving offenses were treated as moving violations, while first offenses were treated as nonmoving violations.
Scott's Law is named after Chicago Fire Lieutenant Scott Gillen who was struck and killed on Dec. 23, 2000, while responding to a traffic crash.