State lawmakers unveiled legislation Tuesday to increase penalties for passing emergency vehicles with flashing lights and other measures that would strengthen Scott’s Law.
Officials say the upgrades are meant to address the recent, tragic losses of emergency responders and highway workers. This year, Troopers Christopher Lambert, Brooke Jones-Story and Gerald Ellis died in the line of duty.
The law was initially passed in memory of Lt. Scott Gillen.
The proposal is addressed with two separate pieces of legislation. The first, SB 1862, takes several steps to strengthen Scott’s Law:
- Expands Scott’s Law protections to include a stationary authorized vehicle with oscillating lights, first responders, IDOT workers, law enforcement officers and any individual authorized to be on the highway within the scope of their employment or job duties;
- Increases the minimum fine to $250 for a first violation of Scott’s Law and to $750 for a second or subsequent violation;
- Adds $250 assessment fee for any violation of Scott’s Law to be deposited into a new dedicated fund to produce driver education materials, called the Scott’s Law Fund;
- Increases criminal penalty to a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in jail, if violation results in damage to another vehicle or a Class 4 felony, punishable by up to one to three years in prison, if violation results in an injury or death of another person;
- Amends the Criminal Code of 2012 to include firefighter and emergency medical service personnel while acting within the scope of their official duties;
- Adds aggravating factors to reckless homicide charges if Scott’s Law was violated;
- Requires the Secretary of State to include written question on Scott’s Law in driver’s license test.
The second piece of legislation, SB 2038, creates a Move Over Task Force to study the issue of violations of Scott’s Law, disabled vehicle law, and stationary authorized emergency vehicle law, with attention to the causes of the violations and ways to protect law enforcement and emergency responders.
Member of The Task Force
Members of this task force will include:
- the director of the Illinois State Police or his or her designee (serves as chair);
- the governor of Illinois of his or her designee;
- the secretary of state or his or her designee;
- the secretary of transportation or his or her designee;
- the director of the Illinois Toll Highway Authority or his or her designee;
- the president of the Illinois State’s Attorneys Association or his or her designee;
- the president of the Illinois Sheriffs’ Association or his or her designee;
- the president of the Illinois Fraternal Order of Police or his or her designee;
- the president of the Associated Fire Fighters of Illinois or his or her designee;
- one member appointed by the speaker of the House of Representatives;
- one member appointed by the minority leader of the House of Representatives;
- one member appointed by the president of the Senate;
- one member appointed by the minority leader of the Senate;
- the following to be appointed by the governor:
- two representatives of different statewide trucking associations;
- one representative of a Chicago area motor club;
- one representative of a Chicago area transit safety alliance;
- one representative of a statewide broadcast association;
- one representative of a statewide towing organization; and
- the chief of police of a municipality with a population under 25,000.
Members of the Task Force must serve without compensation and must meet no fewer than three times. Additionally, the Task Force must present its report and recommendations to the General Assembly no later than Jan. 1, 2020.
“Enough is enough. Three first responders have lost their lives while working on our roadways this year, and we’re cracking down on reckless drivers to prevent more senseless tragedies,” said Rep. Marcus C. Evans, the chief House sponsor of the package of legislation. “This legislation will keep our brave public servants safe and save lives.”
The legislation will be introduced by Rep. Marcus C. Evans Jr. (D-Chicago) and Sen. Tony Munoz (D-Chicago) and will be co-sponsored by Sen. Neil Anderson (R- Andalusia) and Reps. Tim Butler (R-Springfield), John Cabello (R-Machesney Park) and Jay Hoffman (D-Swansea).
SOURCE: state of Illinois news release