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Tougher fines for drivers who hit state troopers

Lawmakers approve stiffer fines for Scott’s Law violations

By Lindsey Salvatelli

Capitol News Illinois


Since the start of 2019, 22 Illinois State Police troopers have had their patrol vehicles 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 recently, and in a news release, Governor 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.

Brendan Kelly, acting director of the Illinois State Police, said in March there had been 16  troopers who’ve had their vehicles struck by motorists failing to follow Scott’s Law.

Since then, ISP spokesperson Lt. Joe Hutchins said, the number has climbed to 22. Two of those incidents were fatal, to state troopers Gerald Ellis and Brooke Jones-Story.

Lawmakers passed resolutions Thursday to memorialize the two 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 Senator Melinda Bush, D-Grayslake.

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