Editorial | Slow down for emergency vehicles

Editorial | Slow down for emergency vehicles

Not even three full months into the year and 14 Illinois State Police troopers have been struck on roads this year. That's more than all of 2018 and a strong indication that motorists are either distracted, driving too fast for conditions or both.

Illinois has a relatively recent law called Scott's Law that is named for a Chicago firefighter, Scott Gillen, who was struck and killed by a drunken driver on the Dan Ryan Expressway.

The law requires motorists to slow down, change lanes if possible and proceed with due caution when they approach a scene where a vehicle — including squad cars but also ambulances, firetrucks, tow trucks and transportation department vehicles — is displaying flashing emergency lights.

For whatever reason, this crucial law is being ignored. Last week near Collinsville, another Illinois State Police trooper was struck and seriously injured by a semitrailer-truck while responding to a crash.

It was the 14th time this year that a trooper had been hit.

"Our troopers are just out there doing their jobs and our jobs are dangerous enough as it is when we have to deal with people we have to stop, warrants we have to serve and then on crashes we have to watch our backs," Trooper Josh Korando told a St. Louis television station. "Cars are coming and hitting us out of the blue. It's one more thing we have to worry about, and it's something that can be avoided."

It absolutely can and must be avoided. The time saved by speeding along a highway or by checking a cellphone while driving isn't worth anyone's health and safety, especially those who serve and protect the rest of us.

Please slow down so there are no more Scott Gillens.

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