If you live and travel in Illinois, you might be breaking this law and not even know it. If caught, you could face stiff penalties.

On Wednesday, Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner was joined by representatives from Illinois State Police, IDOT and the Illinois Tollway to announce a new  "Give Them Distance" initiative for all Illinois roadways.

The initiative is a direct result of Scott's Law, which is a law that was enacted in 2002 to require drivers to move over, or change lanes if possible if they see an emergency vehicle with its lights flashing on the side of the road. In 2017, the law was updated to include all vehicles with its emergency lights flashing.

"Scott's Law"  is named after Officer Scott Gillen who was killed by a drunk driver after he was responding to an accident on the Dan Ryan Freeway back in 2000.

The penalties for violating the law can be severe:

  • fines of to $10,000
  • a two-year suspension of driving privileges
  • possible jail time.

Governor Rauner said:

Today we remind drivers that it’s the law to slow down and safely change lanes when approaching any vehicle stopped on the roadside with hazard or emergency lights on.

Illinois’ Move Over Law is so important to our first-responders — and to anyone who has to pull off the side of the road to fix a flat or deal with engine trouble. By giving roadside vehicles distance, we can save lives. Spread the word.