The names of the expressways are familiar to all those who drive into or out of Chicago: Dan Ryan, Stevenson, Kennedy, Edens, Eisenhower and others. Traffic seems to move at either a crawl or at breakneck speed on these heavily traveled highways.
Pretty much every driver on Chicago’s expressways is in a hurry – that goes without saying – but sometimes that sense of urgency defies logic and puts everyone at risk of involvement in a motor vehicle crash that causes serious injuries or fatalities.
Drivers’ almost obsessive belief that they are in a tremendous hurry and have no time for niceties is perhaps never more in evidence when there’s a car accident on the expressway. Though Illinois law requires drivers to slow down and move over (changing lanes, if possible) when they approach stopped emergency vehicles, many simply ignore Scott’s Law and barrel along, oblivious to the dangers they pose to themselves, public safety workers and other motorists.
Illinois State Police recently reported that there have been 27 crashes so far this year involving state police cars that were struck by drivers ignoring Scott’s Law. Three troopers have died in those careless crashes.
According to a news report, the most recent Scott’s Law-related wreck was about five hours southwest of Chicago in Quincy. Fortunately, the trooper was outside of his vehicle helping a stranded motorist when a car trying to pass an 18-wheeler lost control and slammed into the back of the squad car.
Scott’s Law was enacted in 2002 after the death of Chicago firefighter Scott Gillen who was working at a vehicle crash on the Dan Ryan when a drunk driver struck and killed him.
We urge all of our readers to slow down, move over if they can, whenever they see emergency vehicles and motor vehicle crashes. Protect yourself by obeying Scott’s Law and protect those dedicated public safety workers who protect all of us.