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Senators invest in road safety by taking aim at distracted driving

Distracted driver

Distracted driving and driver safety are issues that always need attention. As more young people drive and technology gets faster, the need to remind people of the perils of distracted driving increases exponentially.

Senate Democrats approached road safety with an even greater sense of urgency following a tragically dangerous year for Illinois State Troopers on the road. In total, 15 state police cruisers were struck while on the side of the road. Three of those accidents resulted in fatalities in what was described as an unprecedented spike in collisions.

State Senator Steve Stadelman passed Senate Bill 86, which clarifies that drivers may not use electronic devices to stream videos while they are driving, including tablets, laptops and video game controllers.

In response to trooper deaths, State Senator Tom Cullerton pushed for greater awareness of existing laws that require Illinois drivers to slow down and give officers a wide berth. Senate Bill 947 would require the Secretary of State to include information about Scott’s Law in every vehicle registration notice it sends to motorists. Scott’s Law requires drivers to move over, if possible, and slow down when approaching an emergency vehicle.

Assistant Majority Leader Tony Munoz also championed legislation (Senate Bill 1862) to strengthen the existing Scott’s Law by enhancing the penalties for violations of the law. Munoz’s measure creates a Move Over Task Force to study the issue of violations of Scott’s Law, disabled vehicle law and stationary authorized emergency vehicle law, with attention to the causes of the violations and ways to protect law enforcement and emergency responders.

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