SPRINGFIELD, Ill.– An effort to ensure the safety of emergency workers on the roadways is headed to the Illinois governor’s desk, where it is expected to be become law.
On May 15, the Illinois Senate unanimously passed HB 180, which would stiffen penalties for motorists who don’t slow down near accident scenes. Named after slain Chicago Firefighter Lt. Scott Gillen who was struck and killed by a vehicle on December 23, 2000 after responding to a traffic accident, the bill increases penalties for drivers who fail to yield to emergency vehicles or who cause accidents or injury to personnel at emergency scenes. Offenders could be fined up to $10,000 and their licenses be suspended for 90 days if the violation causes property damage to as much as two years if the violation results in the death of another person. The bill is similar to Indiana’s Shoulder Responsibility Law.
Illinois Lt. Governor Corrine Wood helped craft the measure after meeting with Lt. Gillen’s brothers the Chicago Fire Commissioner.
Although the Chicago incident spurred the bill, other emergency workers in Illinois had been hit by motorists while working at the scenes of accidents. Two incidents that occurred in 1999 resulted in injuries, while a 1997 accident near Heyworth, IL took the life of a McLean County deputy coroner.
For full text of the bill go to:http://www.legis.state.il.us/legisnet/legisnet92/hbgroups/hb/920HB0180LV.html