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Illinois’ Move-Over fines getting stiffer

Local voices are getting involved in Illinois’ push to get drivers to pay attention. There’s a push to protect police officers, firemen, tow truck drivers and others on the side of the road. And – it’s been obvious, simple Rules of the Road learned in driver’s education courses just hasn’t been enough.

Illinois lawmakers are proposing new, tougher laws that’ll make violators pay the price.

Better protection is what it’s all about after 16 ISP troopers have been hit on the road. The state’s Move Over law, also called Scott’s Law, requires drivers to reduce speed, change lanes if possible and proceed with caution when approaching a stopped emergency or other vehicle on the side of the road.

That was taught in driver’s education. But too many drivers just don’t get it.

Watseka Fire Chief Tim Ketchum is also onboard with Riverside Ambulance runs. He says there’s advanced training for emergency responders – maybe that’s necessary for everyday motorists ? …..

"Fire personnel actually try to use equipment to block the lanes of travel.  It's a complcency issue, Ketchum says, people anuturall want to get places ina hurry.  But these emergnecy responders have a job to do.  Do you want to be the reason I have to go tell a family about a tragedy ?"

Responders are trained to make emergency scenes as safe as possible. Getting into the heads of distracted drivers and those in a hurry is another story.

Watseka Police Chief Jeremy Douglas says ignorance of the law is not an excuse... "It's frustrating that common sense isn't there. We all learned in driver's education that emergency vehciles get priority" Douglas said. "So I don't need to hear any excuses from drivers."

Lawmakers and State Police commanders Tuesday introduced a plan that would more than double the fine for breaking the state’s Move Over law. Felony charges may send a message.

State Police Director Brendan Kelly said it all comes after three State Troopers died in roadside wrecks earlier this year. >>>>

“The pain and sadness is still fresh, but sadness is not enough. There have been many memorials, but memorials are not enough. There is righteous anger, but anger is not enough,” Kelly said. “We all have to act. Along with greater enforcement and education, this legislation represents action.”

The proposal has about two weeks to make it through the state legislature before the end of the session.

94.1 WGFA