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dir="ltr">The Illinois State Police is warning to drivers to follow the state’s “move over” law or face a penalty of up to $10,000.
The law requires motorists to move over from stopped emergency vehicles, which includes police, fire and EMS, construction, tow truck drivers and the general motoring public when they have an emergency and have emergency flashers activated on the side of the road, said Sgt. Christopher Watson of the Illinois State Police.
Watson said that the law was designed to not only keep first responders safe but also to protect the public.
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“We are increasing our enforcement efforts in order to bring attention to the law and also make first responders and the general motoring public safer,” he said.
Under the law, drivers must move over when they see an emergency vehicle on the side of the road or if they can’t move over, they need to reduce their speed and proceed with due caution.
Watson said the law can protect emergency responders and will be enforced by the Illinois State Police. So far this year, there has been an unusually high number of troopers' vehicles that have been struck by motorists.
“Speed kills,” Watson said. “It hurts. When someone violates that law and strikes the first responder, especially if they are outside their vehicle, there’s an immense possibility of injury at that point, and those injuries are often very severe.”
Watson hopes the crackdown on drivers that disobey the “move over” law will help to spread awareness about the safety of first responders and the general motoring public.
“We want to make sure that people are giving first responders the space that they need to get their job done safely and effectively for the motoring public and also so they can go home to their families at the end of the day,” he said.