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Illinois State Police steps up efforts to protect emergency responders on road

A newly created task force has begun meeting to find ways to better protect emergency responders on the road.

The Illinois Move Over Early Warning Task Force was created to study new technologies and early warning systems available to protect law enforcement and emergency responders.  Lead by the Illinois State Police, the task force will study warning systems in cellular phones and vehicles that alert the public to the presence of first responders and road safety hazards.

The task force consists of ISP, Illinois Secretary of State, Illinois Department of Transportation, Illinois Commerce Commission, Illinois Toll Highway Authority, the Statewide 911 Administrator, Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police, Illinois Sheriffs’ Association, Associated Firefighters of Illinois, along with representatives of a motor club, wireless carrier, and trucking association.

At their inaugural meeting this month, task force members discussed what ISP is doing to enforce the Move Over Law, also known as Scott’s 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.

ISP Lt. Col. Christopher Owen discussed what ISP is doing to combat Scott’s Law violations.

ISP has utilized the media and social media to educate the public about the move over law and distracted driving. With the increase in education, enforcement, and messaging, statistics show a decrease in Scott’s Law violations. A representative from the Enforcement and Justice Services Division presented statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Association, which show the number of deaths on our roadways continues to increase drastically each year.

Task force members also heard from a major vehicle manufacturing company that shared on how the company is moving forward in manufacturing vehicles with new technology that helps keep people safe, especially our first responders.

The task force will meet monthly and present its recommendations in a report to the General Assembly by Jan. 1, 2023.  The report will include legislative recommendations, if any, on how to better enforce the laws and how to use 21st-century driver communication technology to prevent fatalities and injuries on Illinois roadways.

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