Scott's Law: Officials Trying to Make Roadways a Safer Place for All

Sep 2, 2007 Full story: Southern Illinoisan 149

“I know I would have been hurt much worse or killed if I was not wearing my seatbelt.”

Illinois State Police Trooper Lanny Finn's life changed on Dec. 5, 2006. The District 8 trooper was assisting a tow truck on Interstate 474. via Southern Illinoisan

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Marilyn Bouslog

United States

#1 Sep 19, 2007
I have been driving for 36 years and have gotten the presidential driving award for several years, and I wasn't aware of the "Scott's Law". I think it is a great law if used right. My son was recently pulled over for failure to acknowledge a emergengy vehickle. He told me that he was coming around an exit when all of a sudden he saw this emergengy vehickle. It popped in front of him so fast that he didn't swerve to get over on the curve. My son didn't do this intentionally. As a result, he has to come back to appear in court, not just to send in money of $75.00 That means he has to miss a concert at a major university and classes. He was told he could come sooner but pay $260.00 plus court costs and it takes $60.00 one way in gas money. I am just perturbed that I didn't even know about this bill and they expect my son who's been driving for four years to know about this.
Tommy

Belleville, IL

#2 Sep 19, 2007
Marilyn Bouslog wrote:
I have been driving for 36 years and have gotten the presidential driving award for several years, and I wasn't aware of the "Scott's Law". I think it is a great law if used right. My son was recently pulled over for failure to acknowledge a emergengy vehickle. He told me that he was coming around an exit when all of a sudden he saw this emergengy vehickle. It popped in front of him so fast that he didn't swerve to get over on the curve. My son didn't do this intentionally. As a result, he has to come back to appear in court, not just to send in money of $75.00 That means he has to miss a concert at a major university and classes. He was told he could come sooner but pay $260.00 plus court costs and it takes $60.00 one way in gas money. I am just perturbed that I didn't even know about this bill and they expect my son who's been driving for four years to know about this.
You sound like the typical mother, and I mean that in both the good and bad way. By "used right" do you mean in a way where your son wouldn't have gotten a ticket? I also think you know that your "award" merely means you haven't gotten caught or had an accident, not that you're necessarily an exemplory driver.

Just a hunch, but it also sounds like your son may have left out a few important details when he was telling you what happened.

If you ever read the Chapter 11 IL vehicle code book, which is a couple hundred pages, you'd probably read about plenty of laws never knew about.

Scotts law is an enhancement to the penalties of a law already on the books for decades about yielding to emergency vehicles both on the move and at the scene of an incident to protect first responders as well as victims.(Legislating what should be common sense). It was well publicized as was the tragedy that spured the measure.
Tommy

Belleville, IL

#3 Sep 19, 2007
Scott’s Law states upon approaching a parked emergency vehicle, with flashing lights, a person who drives an approaching vehicle should change lanes if safe to do so, or reduce speed and proceed with caution if unable to change lanes. Upon entering a construction zone when workers are present, proceed with caution, change lanes not adjacent to the workers or reduce speed if unable to change lanes. Scott's Law is named for Lt. Scott Gillen of the Chicago Fire Department who was killed at an accident scene on the Dan Ryan Expressway in Chicago in 2001.
Frank Bane

Round Lake, IL

#4 Sep 21, 2007
Lets get real. This just happened to me. Driving on Interstate 55 North of Springfield. I'm in the right lane (3), speed limit 65. Up ahead I see a Utility truck in the righ lane (3)with a yellow arrow pointing to the center lane. I reduce my speed to 45 and move to the center lane (2). Traffic is now all trying to get over to the outside lane (3). There is a guy in my blind spot I can't move over. I stop trying to move as I am now even with two utility trucks MOVING as they are painting the line between lanes 1 and 2 and I don't want to hit one of them. The guy in front of me almost hits the guy in lane (3) trying to move over.
I get past the trucks and there is a State Tropper who pulls me over and writes me a ticket for Scott's law.
So, I had reduced my speed to 45. It was not a construction zone, it was not an EMERGENCY situation, the trucks were not stopped. I was able to get to lane 2 but not 3. I told the Tropper, he did'nt care, wrote the ticket and said explain it to the Judge. Now I have to take a day off work, drive 5 hours to Springfield one way, pay for all the gas I am wasting. It is a mandatory court appearence. Is the Judge going to let me off, doubt it. I will still have to pay 225 dollars in court costs either way. There was almost an accident when everyone was trying to squeeze in lane 3. Are the Utility trucks EMERGENCY vehicles? Why was there not a truck in lane 2 closing it down if they are so worried about safety, because the States to cheap. What about an out of State driver?
Is this fair or safe?? I think not!
Common Sense

Oak Lawn, IL

#5 Sep 22, 2007
Scott's law is really about common sense so saying someone didn't know about the law is no excuse. Bottom line anyway is that part of having a driver's license includes keeping yourself informed of the laws. It is your duty to do so.

Yes - Sometimes the emergency vehicles seem to come out of no where but the bottom line is too many people have their radios blaring, are talking on their cell phones, speed through construction zones, and disregard emergency vehicles. Whoever pulled him over must have thought he was doing something else. Out of curiousity - Did he get any other moving violations or just the one?

From the sound of what the man above stated - his case seems like something that he could potentially fight to get off his record. If you did slow down and do what you thought was right and other people were flying around you and the trucks were not emergency vehicles that may not be a Scott's law offense. There are offenses though for construction zones which this seems to fall under rather than Scott's law.
Frank Bane

Round Lake, IL

#6 Sep 23, 2007
I will be sure and post what the judge does with me!!

Do prisoners have access to the Internet??

Peace.
Upset in Dallas

Richardson, TX

#7 Sep 26, 2007
Scott’s Law (Seinfeld's missing episode)

I recently received a ticket for a violation of Scott's Law.

On a clear day, I was traveling on U.S. 51, just north of Heyworth, when I saw a police car and a tan van pulled over to the side. As I approached, I slowed down and moved slightly over to the left.

I was subsequently pulled over and cited even though there was nobody with the van - no emergency at all. When asked prior to and after issuing the citation, the police officer refused to issue me a warning Both times he stated that he was there specifically to enforce the law.

I find it appalling to have to travel from out of state for a court appearance given that the police officer staged the emergency to entrap me in a “sting” operation. Nobody was ever in any danger and I did move over. Common sense dictates that a person attempting to ensure the safety of those involved in an emergency incident should not be cited with a citation.

I now live in Texas, and I have never heard of this law. This sounds like something from a Seinfeld episode! Of course, even if I lived in Illinois, I noticed there is no information about this law in the current Illinois Rules of the Road although the law has been on the books for several years. The only way for anyone to find out about this law is by chance. If the state wishes to enforce this law, then it should run campaigns like those regarding the protection of the construction workers.

What is wrong with this policeman, and our criminal “justice” system?

Please share your feelings.
Frank Bane

Round Lake, IL

#8 Sep 27, 2007
Did you go to court??

Was the officers lights on? If not he can't write you a ticket. There has to be a flashing light of some type. You said you slowed down.

I agree with who knows about the law.? I do because I live north of Chicago where the fireman was killed by the DRUNK driver that started it. The funny part is I just received a good driver citation award in the mail three days before I got pulled over and got the ticket! It's a sticker I put on my license and I don't have to go in for a new license and I am good for another 3 years. Before that I only had to go in for a new picture. So in the last 10 years I haven't even had to look at the "Rules of The Road" book. But they will just hit you with ignorance is no excuse.

I have been asking people since the ticket if they new what "Scotts Law" was. 95% of people have no clue. The ones that do know is because they got a ticket or someone they know did!

My biggest bitch is why do police pull someone over on the shoulder, or worse yet they stop in the lane! I have seen two accidents caused because people are trying to move over and Bam, they hit the people in front of them because they are looking at the police car or trying to move over. Not to mention how this slows up traffic. Its rediculous. Go to California and you will never see this happen, they have to pull someone over to a side street or parking lot. This should be required in every state.

The State has failed when it comes to educating the public, if you don't believe it look at the ratings our schools get, its a joke.
Michelle

Champaign, IL

#9 Oct 2, 2007
Frank Bane wrote:
Lets get real. This just happened to me. Driving on Interstate 55 North of Springfield. I'm in the right lane (3), speed limit 65. Up ahead I see a Utility truck in the righ lane (3)with a yellow arrow pointing to the center lane. I reduce my speed to 45 and move to the center lane (2). Traffic is now all trying to get over to the outside lane (3). There is a guy in my blind spot I can't move over. I stop trying to move as I am now even with two utility trucks MOVING as they are painting the line between lanes 1 and 2 and I don't want to hit one of them. The guy in front of me almost hits the guy in lane (3) trying to move over.
I get past the trucks and there is a State Tropper who pulls me over and writes me a ticket for Scott's law.
So, I had reduced my speed to 45. It was not a construction zone, it was not an EMERGENCY situation, the trucks were not stopped. I was able to get to lane 2 but not 3. I told the Tropper, he did'nt care, wrote the ticket and said explain it to the Judge. Now I have to take a day off work, drive 5 hours to Springfield one way, pay for all the gas I am wasting. It is a mandatory court appearence. Is the Judge going to let me off, doubt it. I will still have to pay 225 dollars in court costs either way. There was almost an accident when everyone was trying to squeeze in lane 3. Are the Utility trucks EMERGENCY vehicles? Why was there not a truck in lane 2 closing it down if they are so worried about safety, because the States to cheap. What about an out of State driver?
Is this fair or safe?? I think not!
You need to stop and listen to yourself. Regarless of whether they were EMERGENCY WORKERS or not they deserve to live another day. This law is okay, but personally I think the penalties are not stiff enough. I mean come on you kill someone and all they do is take your license away for up to 2 years. NO JAIL TIME!!! We recently had a firefighter hit and killed by a greyhound bus that didn't move over, now how is that fair to us that he NEVER gets to come home
Upset in Dallas

Dallas, TX

#10 Oct 7, 2007
I have not yet been to court. Note that the law is still not listed in The Rules of The Road. It is supposed to be listed in the next edition, but that edition is not available yet.
Tommy

East Saint Louis, IL

#11 Oct 7, 2007
Upset in Dallas wrote:
I have not yet been to court. Note that the law is still not listed in The Rules of The Road. It is supposed to be listed in the next edition, but that edition is not available yet.
How do you plan to plead? Sounds like you're going to argue that since it's not in the "Rules of the Road" booklet that it can't be enforced. If I were a betting man, I'd bet you're going to lose that argument.

If your vehicle code book, the official one, is anything like ours, it's well over 100 pages. There's a lot of stuff that's not in that booklet people get to study for a test.

Some examples would be which windows on your car can be tinted, and how dark. Or, those neon lights that some people like to put on their cars are not allowed at all or only certain colors in certain locations are allowed.(Just because you can buy them or have those things done to your car doesn't mean what you're doing is street legal). Or, things like having a cracked windshield, or not properly attaching your tags to your car, too much stuff hanging off your rear view mirror is an obstruction, or tires that are too far outside the wheel well,.........

It goes on and on.

Good luck though.
Frank Bane

Round Lake, IL

#12 Oct 7, 2007
Michelle wrote:
<quoted text>
You need to stop and listen to yourself. Regarless of whether they were EMERGENCY WORKERS or not they deserve to live another day. This law is okay, but personally I think the penalties are not stiff enough. I mean come on you kill someone and all they do is take your license away for up to 2 years. NO JAIL TIME!!! We recently had a firefighter hit and killed by a greyhound bus that didn't move over, now how is that fair to us that he NEVER gets to come home
Well what did he think was going to happen if he stepped in front of a moving Grey Hound BUS!!

Don't get me wrong, I don't want to see anybody get hurt!!! I work with electricity, If I grab hold of a 10,000 volt wire I am going to die, does that mean it's Com Ed's fault, I think not. Thousands of people have dangerous jobs, it's their job to be safe, look both ways before you cross the street. Otherwise find something else to do. It's always somebody elses vault.
Common Sense

Oak Lawn, IL

#13 Oct 15, 2007
Frank Bane wrote:
<quoted text>
Well what did he think was going to happen if he stepped in front of a moving Grey Hound BUS!!
Don't get me wrong, I don't want to see anybody get hurt!!! I work with electricity, If I grab hold of a 10,000 volt wire I am going to die, does that mean it's Com Ed's fault, I think not. Thousands of people have dangerous jobs, it's their job to be safe, look both ways before you cross the street. Otherwise find something else to do. It's always somebody elses vault.
There is a big difference between grabbing a line with voltage and getting hit while doing your job to try to help someone in need. Emergency crews often have to put their cars and themselves in between on-coming traffic and the scene of an accident or a stalled vehicle to prevent an accident. This is what Scott Gillen (of Scott's Law) was doing at the time he was killed. He grew up down the block from me. This accident happened right before Christmas and left his children fatherless.

The whole point of the law is to get people to slow down any time you see the flashing lights. Those who say that it should only be for accidents and not vehicles pulled over for a ticket just don't get it. By the time you figure out what the police is there for - it would be too late to slow down or stop. Therefore - you should slow down for all emergency vehicles period.
Doug Seagraves

AOL

#14 Oct 24, 2007
I recently received a ticket for "Scotts Law" in the state of Illinois. I was on my way home to Georgia from Wyoming and was pulling a trailer. It was 3 in the morning and when I came around the curve I saw the officers lights and started to slow down. As I approched his vehicle I remembered a sign that I had read and started checking my mirrors to see if I could get over. By the time I saw that it was clear I was beside the officers car so I just stayed in my lane. He pulled me over and gave me the ticket and told me that it is a maditory appearance. I told him I understand why they have the law and respect why he is enforcing it but I was almost 600 miles from home and thought that it was uncalled for to have me come back all that way to appear in court. He told me " I like the law, it protects me. Drive safely." and turned and waked away. Can I contact a lawyer to appear in my behalf at court and if I can I think this is some sort of scam. I believe in the laaw but I do think that some things need to be handled with common sense.
lars

Plainfield, IL

#15 Oct 29, 2007
I am really upset about this right now. I respect this law very much, I know it is there to protect people. I have been in their shoes before, I used to drive a tow truck. I have been on the side of the highway with people driving too close while i was laying on the ground hooking my chains to a car. I was on I-55 on sunday, I was in the right lane and came over a hill there was mr officer with someone pulled over. So I let off the gas, looked to see to change lanes like I always do(I already knew about this law, and I have always given that respect). I could not change lanes because of fast moving traffic in the center lane. If I had changed lanes I would of caused an accident. So I continued to slow and move far left in my lane to give him room. As I go by he gives me an evil look and pulls me over and gives me a ticket. I know I was doing less than 50 mph pretty close to 45 mph. He said he clocked me at 55, how did he clock me at 55 when he was walking back to his car from giving someone a ticket? It's BS I swear. He even told me that it was his detail for the day to give people tickets for it. I used to respect cops before this. Well, I guess it's time to call the lawyers. I will report back after my court date to update.
Peter Seng

Antioch, IL

#16 Oct 30, 2007
Scott's law (625 ILCS 5/11-907 (c)) says that the person must change lanes only when it is safe to do so:
"(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&#8209;of&#8209;w ay 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."
Peter Seng

Antioch, IL

#17 Oct 30, 2007
lars wrote:
I am really upset about this right now.... I was on I-55 on sunday, I was in the right lane and came over a hill there was mr officer with someone pulled over. So I let off the gas, looked to see to change lanes like I always do(I already knew about this law, and I have always given that respect). I could not change lanes because of fast moving traffic in the center lane. If I had changed lanes I would of caused an accident. So I continued to slow and move far left in my lane to give him room. As I go by he gives me an evil look and pulls me over and gives me a ticket. I know I was doing less than 50 mph pretty close to 45 mph. He said he clocked me at 55, how did he clock me at 55 when he was walking back to his car from giving someone a ticket? It's BS I swear. He even told me that it was his detail for the day to give people tickets for it. I used to respect cops before this. Well, I guess it's time to call the lawyers. I will report back after my court date to update.
This is almost exactly what happened to me. The point is, the law allows for the fact that it may not be safe to change lanes suddenly. But the difference for me was the cop who gave me the ticket was not the same cop that I passed, it was a SECOND cop who was about parked about 200 feet in front of the first cop. Then while the second cop was writing my ticket, the first cop pulled ahead of him to get into position to nail the next poor dumb bastard that came along.
Peter Seng

Antioch, IL

#18 Oct 30, 2007
Who knows a good lawyer in Iroqois county Illinois?
Entrapped

Memphis, TN

#19 Nov 1, 2007
Got hit with a Scott's Law violation. I did not move over to the left lane on I80 due to what I perceived as enough traffic to make the lane change unsafe. The officer claims that the left lane was clear but I feel differently. Oh well !! My big concern is how the traffic stop was made. It is a fact that the trooper's patrol car had its emergency lights "on". I slowed down and moved over as much as I could while still in the right lane and I passed the officer. I observed that there was no accident, no car pulled over, and no people at the site of the patrol car. Why then was the tropper's emergency lights "on". My only conclusion was that this was done to entrap motorists into a Scott's Law violation. I believe that this assertion is correct since as soon as I passed the trooper he began his quest to intercept me. Do you think this is a proper and legal procedure by the Illinois State Police?
Tommy

Fairview Heights, IL

#20 Nov 1, 2007
While I support "Scotts Law" and understand the purpose for/of it, from what I've been reading it sounds like people are being set up for the purpose of generating statistics politicians can bluster about and further expand the law.

Some of these posts sound like they cross the line from being an "educational campaign" and are more or less becoming entrapment. It's one thing for police to be sitting on the side of the road looking for speeders (people who intentionally break the law), it's another to sit there for no other purpose than an attempt to justify a ticket by causing someone to involuntarily break the law.

The biggest "benefit" to the courts is the mandatory court appearance as most people probably can't take the time to contest the ticket.

The purpose of this law is to protect emergency personel, not generate revenue. Abusing it isn't going to create support for it.

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