State police vow to enforce 'Scott's Law' after 14th trooper of 2019 struck near Collinsville
Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker and the state police held a press conference Monday to raise the awareness and announce the further enforcement of Scott’s Law.
Scott's Law is an Illinois statute that was enacted after the tragic death of Chicago first responder Lieutenant Scott Gillen in December 2000. The law states that when drivers see any police or emergency vehicle on the road, they must proceed with caution or change lanes if possible.
“In 2019 we’ve already had 14 troopers struck statewide as a result of Scott’s Law violations,” said Illinois State Police Acting Director Brendan Kelly. “This year-to-date number is higher than numbers of this sort that occurred in all of 2018 (8) and all of 2017 (12).”
The community is still mourning the loss of Illinois State Trooper Christopher Lambert, who was struck and killed on Jan. 12 while investigating the scene of a crash on I-294 near Willow Road in Northbrook. Lambert, a 34-year-old military veteran, was on his way home when he stopped to help at a three-vehicle crash on the side of the road and he was struck by another vehicle. He left behind a wife and one-year-old daughter.
Most recently, a state trooper suffered serious injuries when he was struck while responding to a crash near Collinsville last week. Law officials have expressed the need to educate the public on the increasing dangers of the matter and have already started ramping up enforcement of the law.
“So far this year, Illinois police have written twice as many citations for Scott’s Law violations than we did this time last year,” said Kelly. "In 2019 there have been 494 [tickets] issued; in 2018, at this time last year, only 184.”
Kelly also said that they have conducted many surveys and there is no common denominator for when the accidents take place. It comes down to the simple negligence of the law and lack of awareness on the road.
Illinois State Police are budgeting and devoting another 2,000-plus hours toward Scott’s Law enforcement in 2019.
“There are individual stories of brave men and women who protect us every day,” said Pritzker. “They are our heroes. No one’s time or convenience is worth more than the lives of our state’s heroes.”