"Scott's Law" - The Statute and its Penalties
Illinois law requires all drivers to yield to emergency vehicles on the side of the road. This law is called “Scott’s Law” in honor of Chicago Fire Department Lt. Scott Gillen, who was killed by a passing motorist while working an emergency. The law is on the books at 625 ILCS 5/11-907.
Law and PenaltiesThe Illinois legislature passed Scott's Law to protect police officers, fireman, and emergency medical technicians (EMTs) when they are parked on the side of the road in the scope of their employment. An emergency vehicle includes almost any vehicle with red, blue, or white oscillating lights (such as police vehicles, ambulances, etc.) or using audible signals (such as a siren).
Scott's Law says that if the emergency lights or siren are activated, all drivers must attempt to slow down and change to a lane away from the emergency vehicle. If changing lanes is not possible because of heavy traffic, drivers must slow down.
Drivers can be ticketed for failing to change lanes when approaching a police car on the side of the highway. The ticket is a petty offense and has a mandatory fine of $100 and up to $10,000. The higher fine would be imposed if there was an accident.
A violation of Scott's Law that results in an accident involving property damage will cause the Secretary of State to suspend the defendant's driver's license for a period of 90 days. If the accident causes injury, then the suspension is 180 days. Last, if the accident resulted in death, then the Secretary of State will suspend the offender's license for 2 years.
For purposes of the fine, the fact that the defendant was driving under the influence is considered to be an aggravating factor calling for a higher fine.
Sec. 11-907. Operation of vehicles and streetcars on approach of authorized emergency vehicles.(a) Upon the immediate approach of an authorized emergency vehicle making use of audible and visual signals meeting the requirements of this Code or a police vehicle properly and lawfully making use of an audible or visual signal:
(1) the driver of every other vehicle shall yield the
right-of-way and shall immediately drive to a position parallel to, and as close as possible to, the right-hand edge or curb of the highway clear of any intersection and shall, if necessary to permit the safe passage of the emergency vehicle, stop and remain in such position until the authorized emergency vehicle has passed, unless otherwise directed by a police officer; and
(2) the operator of every streetcar shall immediately
stop such car clear of any intersection and keep it in such position until the authorized emergency vehicle has passed, unless otherwise directed by a police officer.
(b) This Section shall not operate to relieve the driver of an authorized emergency vehicle from the duty to drive with due regard for the safety of all persons using the highway.
(c) Upon approaching a stationary authorized emergency vehicle, when the authorized emergency vehicle is giving a signal by displaying alternately flashing red, red and white, blue, or red and blue lights or amber or yellow warning lights, a person who drives an approaching vehicle shall:
(1) proceeding with due caution, yield the
right-of-way by making a lane change into a lane not adjacent to that of the authorized emergency vehicle, if possible with due regard to safety and traffic conditions, if on a highway having at least 4 lanes with not less than 2 lanes proceeding in the same direction as the approaching vehicle; or
(2) proceeding with due caution, reduce the speed of
the vehicle, maintaining a safe speed for road conditions, if changing lanes would be impossible or unsafe.
As used in this subsection (c), "authorized emergency vehicle" includes any vehicle authorized by law to be equipped with oscillating, rotating, or flashing lights under Section 12-215 of this Code, while the owner or operator of the vehicle is engaged in his or her official duties.
(d) A person who violates subsection (c) of this Section commits a business offense punishable by a fine of not less than $100 or more than $10,000. It is a factor in aggravation if the person committed the offense while in violation of Section 11-501 of this Code. Imposition of the penalties authorized by this subsection (d) for a violation of subsection (c) of this Section that results in the death of another person does not preclude imposition of appropriate additional civil or criminal penalties.
(e) If a violation of subsection (c) of this Section results in damage to the property of another person, in addition to any other penalty imposed, the person's driving privileges shall be suspended for a fixed period of not less than 90 days and not more than one year.
(f) If a violation of subsection (c) of this Section results in injury to another person, in addition to any other penalty imposed, the person's driving privileges shall be suspended for a fixed period of not less than 180 days and not more than 2 years.
(g) If a violation of subsection (c) of this Section results in the death of another person, in addition to any other penalty imposed, the person's driving privileges shall be suspended for 2 years.
(h) The Secretary of State shall, upon receiving a record of a judgment entered against a person under subsection (c) of this Section:
(1) suspend the person's driving privileges for the
mandatory period; or
(2) extend the period of an existing suspension by
the appropriate mandatory period.