Scott’s Law, also known as the “Move Over Law” requires Illinois motorists to yield and/or switch lanes upon approaching a stationary emergency vehicle displaying emergency lights. The law further requires that if changing lanes is unsafe, the motorist must proceed ‘with due caution, reduce the speed of the vehicle, and maintain a safe speed for road conditions.’ The law was named after Lieutenant Scott Gillen of the Chicago Fire Department who was struck and killed by a drunk driver after responding to a crash Chicago’s Dan Ryan expressway.
While the impetus for enacting Scott’s Law may have been justified, the penalties for violation of the law are exceedingly harsh. A conviction under Scott’s Law will result in a fine ranging from $100.00 to $10,000.00 and an automatic license suspension. That’s right, an automatic license suspension. At the outset it would appear that the law is not tailored to combat the harm to which it was intended as the situation that gave rise to Scott’s Law involved an intoxicated driver. Scott’s Law, on the other hand, is applicable to all drivers in the State of Illinois. Furthermore, the license suspension penalty is especially troubling considering the fact that a motorist is expected to make a snap judgment call in changing lanes on (often) busy Chicago expressways. In this way, the law may cause more harm than good as motorists that are aware of the law are likely to make unsafe lane changes in order to protect their driving privileges (and potentially their jobs).
If you have received a citation for violating Scott’s Law, you should contact an attorney immediately to investigate your citation and protect your driving privileges. The Klest Law Firm handles Scott’s Law tickets throughout Chicago and the surrounding suburbs.