If you hear a siren or see the flashing lights of an emergency vehicle, it should go without saying that you have to clear the way. Illinois requires that you move to the right side curb until the vehicle passes.
If the emergency vehicle is stopped and flashing its lights, you must change to a lane that is not next to the emergency vehicle. If changing lanes is not possible, you must reduce your speed. Known as Scott’s Law, these rules seek to protect police officers who are too often killed by oncoming motorists while providing emergency aid.
Scott’s Law was named after Lt. Scott Gillen who was struck while assisting at a crash scene in 2000. In the first five months of 2019, Illinois State Troopers have lost two officers due to violations of Scott’s Law. (See State Trooper Says We Have to Educate the Public on Scott’s Law).
If you violate Scott’s Law, causing death or damages, you can face a variety of civil and criminal penalties including losing your driver’s license for at least 90 days. As of January 1, 2020, the penalties for violating the law are going up. Besides increased fines, you can be charged with a Class A Misdemeanor if your violation caused property damage and a Class 4 felony if you caused injury or death.
If you have been charged with a criminal or traffic offense, contact an experienced attorney immediately. An attorney can review your case for its best possible defense. Was the emergency vehicle flashing its lights? Could you safely change lanes? Even if the evidence against you is overwhelming, an attorney who is respected in the courthouse may be able to negotiate a more favorable plea agreement than you could on your own.
If you have questions about this or another related Illinois criminal or traffic matter, please contact Matt Keenan at 847-568-0160 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
(Besides Skokie, Matt Keenan also serves the communities of Arlington Heights, Chicago, Deerfield, Des Plaines, Evanston, Glenview, Morton Grove, Mount Prospect, Niles, Northbrook, Park Ridge, Rolling Meadows, Wilmette and Winnetka.)