CHICAGO – State Rep. Justin Slaughter, D-Chicago, recently supported legislation that creates the Move Over Early Warning Task Force to study the impact of current traffic laws and make recommendations to modify current practice to improve the safety conditions for first responders.
“Our first responders’ offices are the roadways of our state and wherever else their duty asks them to travel to,” said Slaughter. “We must continue to ensure that our laws provide protection to our first responders to keep them safe as well as provide clear directions for motorists to follow.”
House Bill 3656, which was recently signed into law by Gov. J.B. Pritzker, creates the Move Over Early Warning Task Force composed of law enforcement and other public and private stakeholders. They will be charged with studying traffic violations against first responders and with making recommendations to legislators to enhance the laws protecting emergency response.
Under current state law, when approaching a stopped emergency vehicle along the roadway, you must change lanes if possible, reduce speed and proceed with increased caution. If unable to safely change lanes, you must reduce speed greatly. Despite this law, the Illinois State Police in particular has experienced dozens of crashes and multiple fatalities in recent years caused by irresponsible driving.
“Far too many of Illinois’ finest and other emergency responders have lost their lives due to the selfish actions of reckless drivers,” said Slaughter. “Although we have some protections in place to protect these critical workers, the data shows that too many lives have been lost and we must do more.”