SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WCIA) – Governor J.B. Pritzker issued a proclamation making Oct. 15 “Slow Down, Move Over Day.”
The day is meant to raise awareness about safe driving, specifically when drivers drive past accident sites where police, firetrucks, and ambulances have their flashing lights on. It also applies to areas where construction workers and tow truck drivers are working.
“It can be really scary when you’re working on the interstate or any high-traffic volume area,” Illinois State Police trooper Haylie Polistina, said. “We’re out there, providing traffic control for motorists trying to keep them safe. We’re paying attention to our incident, and cars are zooming by us at high speeds.”
To keep emergency responders and other workers safe, Illinois passed Scott’s Law in 2017 named after Scott Gillen, a Chicago firefighter lieutenant who was killed by a drunk driver while working on the Dan Ryan Expressway.
The law requires drivers to slow down, drive carefully and switch lanes when they see crews or emergency vehicles on the road. Still the law hasn’t stopped people from getting hurt.
“We’re still seeing troopers and police officers across the US being hurt, so if we can get that message out there, then more people are going to slow down and move over hopefully,” Polistina said. “We’re seeing a lot of distracted drivers, and just people not paying attention. It’s really important to be aware of your surroundings, especially when you’re driving.”
State Police said there have been 19 squad car crashes related to Scott’s Law through August of this year.
In a statement, State Police Director Brendan Kelly said, “These crashes are 100% preventable. when a motorist takes the time to slow down and move over, they potentially save a life.”
When emergency or construction vehicles are present, Polistina said drivers need to slow down.
“You need to slow down, start slowing down, put your turn signal on, and show other motorists around you that you’re going to move over,” Polistina said. “This will cause other motorists to watch what you’re doing and move over as well.”