The Illinois State Police’s “Move Over” Task Force has made recommendations to Illinois and national lawmakers to further protect police and first responders along Illinois’ highways.
The task force was formed in 2019 after the deaths of ISP Troopers Christopher Lambert and Brooke Jones-Story. The 34 year old Lambert was on his way home and stopped at the scene of a crash on Interstate 294 near Willow Road in Northbrook. He was struck and killed by an oncoming vehicle. The 34 year old Jones-Story was inspecting a commercial motor vehicle on United States Route 20 westbound, just west of Illinois Route 75 in Stephenson County. Jones-Story was outside her squad car when she was struck and fatally wounded when a truck tractor semi-trailer combination struck her squad car and the semi she was inspecting.
According to data from the Illinois Department of Transportation and the Illinois State Police, 4 squad cars have already been struck this year, injuring 3 troopers. State Police Sergeant Joey Watson says the task force is proposing several changes to Scott’s Law in Illinois. One of the changes he says is simple, requiring drivers to not only change lanes when they see emergency flashing lights on the side of a roadway, but to slow down as well: “There should always be a reduction in speed in order to accommodate that ‘proceed with due caution’ aspect that the law demands.”
Watson says the task force also wants to make it easier to collect citation and incident data on Move Over violations and is encouraging more research into potential solutions: “It’s kind of creating that think tank where we are pooling our resources, and getting a better, more diverse view of the problem from different backgrounds such as IDOT engineers, traffic safety partners, through law enforcement, as well as vehicle technology. “
Other recommendations by the task force include stiffer penalties for distracted drivers, especially those on electronic devices, violating the Move Over Law and making the law a national safety priority. Last year, the Illinois State Police had 15 Scott’s Law or Move Over Law-related crashes.