Illinois’ “Scott’s Law” Turns 18

“Scott’s Law,” enacted in Illinois in 2002, is aimed to protect first responders working in traffic and on roadways. The Law was named in honor of Scott Gillen of the Chicago Fire Department who was struck and killed by a
drunk driver while assisting at a crash on a Chicago
Expressway.

The law specifically applies to drivers who approach a stationary emergency vehicle that is displaying flashing warning lights. The law requires that Illinois motorists must:

• Slow down;
• Drive with caution; and
• Move over to another lane. Reduce speed if changing
lanes is unsafe.

Illinois Motorists who enter a highway construction are must:
• Slow down;
• Discontinue wireless use; and
• Yield or change lanes away from any authorized vehicles
or workers in the area.

If you violate Scotts law and injure a first responder or worker you can face a $10,000.00 fine and spend time in prison.

Despite the law there have been record breaking violations in recent years. Illinois nearly hit a record high in Scott’s Law car crashes in 2019, with 26 crashes. Illinois State Police have addressed the media due to the recent number of violations. In 2020, District One, which covers Lee, Ogle, Whiteside and Carroll counties saw 48 violations. Illinois State Police are urging drivers who see first responders on roadways to remain alert, slow down, and move over.

This seems like common sense. You see an ambulance, police car or fire truck with their sirens on, you immediately pull over. Or if you are on a highway, you slow down and switch to the furthest lane. It’s unclear why drivers continue to violate the law and continue to injure police and first responders with their vehicles. Is it because of phone? Are people not paying attention. None of the media or research I have read indicates whether these are the causes. Regardless, I think there needs to be a public service push to let Illinois drivers know this is still the law, there a life and death consequences and that you could end up in jail.

If you or a loved one has been seriously injured in a Chicago car crash or Chicago truck accident, then call Chicago injury attorney, Aaron J. Bryant for a free legal consultation at 312-614-1076

Chicago Red Light Camera Violations Down Amid Coronavirus

Red light cameras have been a topic I have written about numerous times on this site. according to a personal injury lawyer the issue has been often criticized by the media and academics alike. The characters behind the contracts with the city of Chicago have been put in jail for fraud, all the while multiple studies have shown they bring almost no positive safety impact on the intersections where the lights are placed.

Prior to the Covid-19 pandamic outbreak, which led to a shelter-in-place throughout the state, the Illinois house of representatives passed a bill that would have outlawed red light cameras. That bill never had a chance to reach the Senate as the state legislature closed down like most businesses.

Regardless, red light cameras are still in effect in Chicago and throughout Illinois. The Chicago Sun Times reported last week that red light camera violations are down 45% in March compared to February 2020. And compared to March 2019, red-light violations in Chicago were down 54%, numbering just 19,840 in March 2020 compared to 42,812 in March 2019. “At this time, we are seeing a nationwide trend of fewer citations overall, driven by the lower amount of traffic on the roads,” said Neil Franz, a spokesman for Conduent State & Local Solutions Inc., the vendor that operates Chicago’s red-light cameras.This is no surprise as motor vehicle traffic is way down since the shelter-in-place order took effect in mid-march. I have not seen any numbers for April yet.

As I have written multiple times in the past, I do not see any benefit of red light cameras other than a money grab for local governments. Studies have been performed by engineers and traffic experts that conclude there is no beneficial safety impact for having red light cameras in place. What is the point of having these in place if they do not make our intersections safer? I hope that when the Illinois legislature is back in session (presumably this Fall), they take up this bill again and outlaw these cameras foreever.

If you or loved one has been seriously injured in a Chicago car crash or Chicago truck accident, then call Chicago injury attorney, Aaron J. Bryant, for a free legal consultation at 312-614-1076.

Chicago May Lightfoot Introduced New Parking Ticket Ordinance

According to various news outlets, including the Chicago Sun-Times, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot introduced a new city ordinance aimed at cracking down on drivers that are blocking bus and bike lanes.

If passed, the new law would allow parking enforcement aides to take a picture of a motorist parked in a bus or bicycle lane and mail the violation to the address of the license plate holder. The fines will range from $60 to $150. Currently, the ticket can only be issued if the vehicle is parked in a bus lane or bike lane. If someone drives off to avoid the ticket — even while a citation is being written — the parking enforcement aide is out of luck.

According to Mayor Lightfoots office, the purpose of the law to help decrease traffic congestion in the downtown loop. We already know that this has been a major focus for her office as she passed sweeping changes to downtown traffic laws in her most recent city budget. These changes included rate hikes for ride share companies in the downtown area and during peak rush hour time periods.

I applaud this new law as it aims to protect public transportation and bicyclists in the city. The whole purpose of designating lanes for buses and bicyclists is to encourage more people to use public transportation and to make life safer for bicyclists. How can that mission be protected if motorists continue to ignore the laws by blocking these lanes? I will be following this closely to see if the city council passes this proposed law.

If you or a loved one has been seriously injured in a Chicago car crash or Chicago truck accident, then call Chicago injury attorney, Aaron J. Bryant, for a free legal consultation at 312-614-1076.

Former Redflex CEO And Chicago Transportation Official Indicted On Federal Charges

Both the Chicago Tribune and Chicago Sun Times reported last week that Karen Finley, the onetime CEO of Redflex, John Bills, a former Chicago city official, and one of Bills’s friends are  facing charges of wire fraud, mail fraud, bribery, and conspiracy to commit bribery, with Bills also facing a charge of conspiracy to commit extortion. The charges have been filed in Federal Court in the Northern District of Illinois.

Finley, who was CEO of Redflex until February of 2013, allegedly passed bribes to Bills via Bills’s friend, Martin O’Malley, in exchange for Bills’s help in receiving the red light camera contracts. Those contracts eventually led to $124 million going to Redflex, the Sun-Times said.

Last February, the city chose to block Redflex from bidding on on further traffic camera contracts, in the wake of the scandal, and eventually it chose a Xerox unit as the new red light camera operator.

This should not come as a surprise as both Redflex and Bills have come under scrutiny since last year when it was determined that alleged corruption was involved in the bidding process. As a wrote several weeks back, Redflex has also been named as a defendant in a class action lawsuit alleging that they were unjustly enriched from money they received as the red light camera operator because it was alleged that the contract was received through bribery. This is just another example of how controversial red light cameras have become in Chicago. There are some critics out there, including myself, that believe red light cameras do not actually make intersections safer and are merely a money grab by the city. I will be following the class action lawsuit closely along with the federal charges.

If you or someone you love has been seriously injured in a Chicago traffic accident or Chicago truck accident, then call Chicago injury attorney, Aaron Bryant, for a free legal consultation at 312-614-1076.