This year in Illinois, fines more than doubled for drivers violating Senate Bill 1862, commonly referred to as Scott’s Law. While technically a traffic violation, authorities could cite additional charges depending on the unique circumstances surrounding the incident. Here’s what you need to know about changes to SB 1862 and why hiring a traffic lawyer or criminal defense lawyer may be the smartest move you can make.
What is Scott’s Law?
Also known as the Move Over Law, Scott’s Law requires motorists to move over or dramatically reduce speed as they approach an authorized emergency vehicle stopped on the shoulder. Authorized vehicles include ambulances, police cars, or any emergency or maintenance vehicle with flashing lights. If you see one of these types of automobiles standing on the side of the road with rotating or blinking lights, you must yield the right of way by changing lanes or slowing down. Moving over should be the first course of action. If it’s not safe to switch lanes, drivers must reduce speed and proceed with caution.
The law is named for Scott Gillen, a Lieutenant with the Chicago Fire Department. It went into effect after a car hit and killed Lieutenant Gillen in 2000 as he tried to help folks involved in an accident on the shoulder of the Dan Ryan Expressway.
Penalties for SB 1862 violation
Scott’s Law is a traffic violation punishable by a fine of $250 (previously $100) for an initial offense. Second or repeat offenses will be met with fines ranging from $750 to $10,000.
Additional penalty possibility
Depending on the situation, a driver in violation of Scott’s Law could face additional penalties.
- Property damage: If you cause any harm to surrounding property, your driving privileges can be suspended for a minimum of 90 days and a maximum of 365 days.
- Vehicle damage: Damage to a vehicle is considered a Class A misdemeanor (730 ILCS 5/5-4.5-55).
- Injury to another person: If your violation injures another person, your driving privileges can be suspended for a minimum of 180 days and a maximum of two years. This is considered a Class 4 felony (730 ILCS 5/5-4.5-45).
- Death of another person: Also considered a Class 4 felony, this additional penalty would result in a driving privilege suspension of two years.
Scott’s Law and non-emergency vehicles
Scott’s Law applies to all vehicles stationed on the side of the road with their hazard lights flashing. However, a violation in this instance is considered a petty offense.
Cracking down in 2020
In January 2020, just after the fine increases went into effect, the Illinois State Police vowed to enforce SB 1862 more strictly. This promise was, in part, a way of honoring Trooper Christopher Lambert on the one-year anniversary of his death. Like Lieutenant Gillen, Trooper Lambert was killed by an SUV in 2019 as he directed traffic around the scene of a car accident.
This dogged push to ticket SB 1862 offenders also echoes the ISP’s crack down last year. Between January 1, 2019 and November 3, 2019, the ISP reported it issued 5,860 tickets to motorists for Scott’s Law violations. Only 728 tickets were written for the same offense in 2018. If the trend continues, Illinois drivers can expect a zero tolerance policy when it comes to Scott’s Law in 2020.
If you or someone you know has received a citation for SB 1862 (Scott’s Law), you should speak with an experienced criminal attorney who can review the details of your case and craft a strong defense. Contact Richard at Fenbert & Associates, LLC for a free consultation.