Scott’s Law is an Illinois law that is also known as the “Move Over” law. It dictates the lawful operation with regard to passing a stopped emergency vehicle. It is a regulation aimed at increasing traffic safety and avoiding accidents.
Scott’s Law is discussed on the Illinois State Police page titled “Scott’s Law” (pdf) subtitled “The Move Over Law.” It can also be considered the “Rules Of The Road” when approaching emergency vehicles on the side of the road.
The two main directives from the law is to slow down and move over when there is a stopped emergency vehicle, or a maintenance or construction vehicle with flashing lights. These flashing lights can be of various colors, as discussed on the page. Applicable emergency or maintenance vehicles include fire trucks, ambulances, police cars, tow trucks, maintenance and construction vehicles.
If possible, the oncoming driver should change to a lane away from the stopped vehicle and proceed with caution.
An excerpt from this Scott’s Law page:
As of January 1, 2017, the Move Over Law now applies to all vehicles that display flashing emergency lights, including commercial trucks and cars; the law is no longer limited to authorized emergency vehicles — i.e. police cruisers, ambulances, and fire trucks.
Another excerpt, from the Illinois State Police news release of March 25, 2019 titled “WITH SURGE OF CRASHES INVOLVING ISP TROOPERS, GOV. PRITZKER AND ILLINOIS STATE POLICE URGE MOTORISTS TO FOLLOW “MOVE OVER” LAW“:
The Move Over Law requires motorists to approach with caution and yield to emergency vehicles, including highway maintenance vehicles displaying oscillating, rotating or flashing lights. Drivers must change lanes if they can do so safely or reduce speed and proceed with caution if unable to change lanes.
Though not an exhaustive list, this would include police, fire, emergency medical system, construction and towing vehicles. As of January 1, 2017, the law was also updated to include the general public when they are roadside with their emergency four-way flashers activated.
Violators of the Move Over Law are mandated to appear in court. Additionally, they can be fined not less than $100 or more than $10,000 and have their driver’s license suspended for up to two years if the violation involves injury to another.
The law was named after Lieutenant Scott Gillen of the Chicago Fire Department. He was fatally struck by a drunk driver as he was assisting at an accident scene on the Dan Ryan Expressway. This fatal accident occurred in 2000.
Scott’s Law does not currently specify to what speed the driver should slow to – nor does it specify how much room to leave when passing the stopped emergency vehicle, tow truck, maintenance vehicle, or other applicable vehicle.
Scott’s Law is getting greater attention (and greater enforcement) as there have been numerous Illinois accidents in 2019 in which vehicles have struck Illinois State Police (ISP) Troopers. A surge in such accidents occurred in early 2019, resulting in 14 State Troopers being struck as they were pulled over to respond to highway incidents. In all of these instances, emergency lights were activated.
Scott’s Law aims to protect police officers, firemen, and emergency medical technicians (EMTs), and other workers when they are parked on the side of the road.
Additional details regarding this traffic safety regulation can be seen in the sources mentioned above.