Lawmakers approve stiffer fines for Scott's Law violations

  • Pallbearers from the Illinois State Police Honor guard place the casket of Trooper Gerald Ellis on a pedestal during his funeral at the College of Lake County in Grayslake.

      Pallbearers from the Illinois State Police Honor guard place the casket of Trooper Gerald Ellis on a pedestal during his funeral at the College of Lake County in Grayslake. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer/April 5

  • Illinois State Police Trooper Gerald Ellis

    Illinois State Police Trooper Gerald Ellis

  • Illinois State Police Trooper Brooke Jones-Story

    Illinois State Police Trooper Brooke Jones-Story

  • Illinois State Police Trooper Christopher Lambert

    Illinois State Police Trooper Christopher Lambert

 
By Lindsey Salvatelli
Capitol News Illinois
lsalvatelli@capitolnewsillinois.com
Updated 5/31/2019 3:47 PM

SPRINGFIELD -- Since the start of 2019, 22 Illinois State Police troopers' patrol vehicles were struck by drivers who've disobeyed Scott's Law. With Senate Bill 1862 passing both chambers, violators will now receive steeper fines.

The piece cleared the Senate late Thursday evening and in a news release on Friday Gov. J.B. Pritzker commended the bipartisan effort behind the bill and said he looks forward to signing the legislation.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

"Our state troopers and emergency responders risk their lives to protect us, and I applaud the General Assembly for taking action to help keep them safe," Pritzker said in the statement.

Drivers who fail to reduce their speed or move over when approaching stationary vehicles on the side of the road could be fined at least $500 for a first offense. The fine and fee increases to at least $1,000 for repeat offenses. The maximum fine for any offense is $10,000.

The law also increases the severity of violations that result in the death or harm to a first responder from a class 3 felony to a class 2 felony.

Money collected from Scott's Law violations, $250 per fine, will go into a Scott's Law Fund to produce driver education materials.

A second bill, Senate Bill 2038, creates the Move Over Task Force to study why violations persist and places a single test question on driving exams regarding the action that should be taken when approaching stationary vehicles.

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Brendan Kelly, acting director of the Illinois State Police, said in March that 16 troopers have had their vehicles struck by motorists failing to follow Scott's Law.

Since then, ISP spokesman Lt. Joe Hutchins said, the number has climbed to 22. Killed were state troopers Gerald Ellis of Antioch and Brooke Jones-Story of Warren.

Illinois State Police's first on-duty death this year came Jan. 12, when Trooper Christopher Lambert of Highland Park was hit by a car after stopping to help at the scene of a three-car crash on I-294 in Glenview.

Lawmakers passed resolutions Thursday to memorialize the fallen troopers on the highways where they were struck.

"It's highly fitting that the Illinois General Assembly pay in honors and respect to those individuals who've given their lives to the service of their communities," said Democratic state Sen. Melinda Bush of Grayslake.

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