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New Legislation May Toughen Penalties for Harming Illinois Emergency Workers

Drivers may face tougher penalties for endangering emergency crews under new legislation that is being pushed through the Illinois General Assembly. The proposal is one of several initiatives intended to protect fire, police and emergency personnel as they respond to accidents.

The law would increase penalties for violations of Scott’s Law, which requires drivers to yield to emergency vehicles with flashers activated. If a violation of this law results in death, the driver may be charged with a Class 4 felony.

The new legislation was suggested by McLean County State’s Attorney Jason Chambers, who recently won a conviction involving a truck driver who killed Hudson firefighter Chris Brown, who was working at the site of an accident on I-39.

The trial presented evidence that the truck was traveling around 37mph when it hit the emergency vehicle, which killed Brown and damaged a fire engine and state police squad car. There have been many other accidents in Illinois that have highlighted safety concerns for emergency responders.

In January, a Tollway employee was killed and an Illinois State Police trooper injured on I-88 by a truck as they were helping a driver in Aurora.

State police, the Illinois Department of Transportation, and tollway officials have also been at work to launch a public safety campaign to improve motor vehicle safety in the state. A media campaign has also been aimed at truckers to prevent accidents.

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