Governor JB Pritzker signed a package of legislation aimed at protecting the physical and mental health of first responders. This legislation strengthens Scott’s Law to assist in keeping first responders safe on the roads and improves mental health resources.
Senate Bill 1913 allows courts to order community service as a form of punishment for violating Scott’s Law, in addition to other penalties. Since 2002, Scott’s Law says that drivers approaching a vehicle with their hazard lights on must slow down and move over. Earlier this year, ISP reported a total of 1,340 violations of the law during the 19-day period between February 18 and March 7. The law takes effect January 1, 2022.
House Bill 3656 further clarifies a driver’s duty for how to respond to an emergency scene on the road, so that the protections of Scott’s Law can be wielded to their fullest extent. It also establishes the Move Over Early Warning Task Force, which will study how to use 21st century technology to better help drivers safely navigate an emergency zone. The legislation adds that it is a factor in aggravation if a person commits a Scott’s Law violation while using a handheld cell phone. The law takes effect January 1, 2022.
Senate Bill 1575 requires the creation of an online resource page with a comprehensive collection of mental health resources specifically geared toward first responders. It will include crisis services, wellness, trauma information, nutrition, stress reduction, anxiety, depression, violence prevention, suicide prevention and substance use. The Illinois Department of Human Services’ Division of Mental Health will lead the effort to build this resource, with a target launch date of January 2022. The law takes effect immediately.