On the anniversary of Scott’s Law, first responders urge road safety

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PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — On the 18th anniversary of Scott’s Law, area law enforcement are encouraging drivers to slow down and move over.

Scott’s Law is a state order mandating drivers to move over for emergency vehicles on the side of the road. The statute expanded to include any vehicle on the side of the road with flashing lights, such as a broken down civilian car.

The law, enacted in 2002, is named after Scott Gillen, a Chicago firefighter who was hit and killed on the roadside by a drunk driver. Wednesday was the anniversary of the law.

Although holiday traffic may not be as chaotic as in past years, the dangers are still very real. A Scott’s Law crash refers to any incident involving civilian cars hitting roadside workers, including police, construction, and also broken down vehicles.

Illinois nearly hit a record high in Scott’s Law crashes in 2019, with 26 crashes.

“We do have less than last year,” Josh Korando, Illinois State Police Trooper, said, “But even if we have one, that’s too many.”

Peoria’s Advanced Medical Transport (AMT) was a pioneer when it came to redesigning ambulance vehicles, making it safer for the EMTs and paramedics.

“In a traditional ambulance design, to get to your immobilization equipment, you had to be on this side of the truck,” Josh Bradshaw, Community Resource Manager at AMT said while pointing to the left side of an ambulance. “We drove innovation in the industry and worked with ambulance manufacturers to relocate that equipment to the back of the vehicle.”

Bradshaw said it is particularly easy for drivers to get distracted nowadays.

“It’s helpful to slow down,” Bradshaw said. “And to be even more aware of dangers that may be present. Try to reduce the amount of distractions. Try to keep your phone in the glove compartment if you can.”

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