Fire Marshal Reminds Drivers of New Law to Protect Emergency First Responders

“Shib’s Law” honors Sesser firefighter killed in the line of duty
SPRINGFIELD – Illinois State Fire Marshal David B. Foreman is reminding drivers about a new law that protects firefighters by giving them the authority to close lanes of traffic while responding to an emergency situation. Senate Bill 2488 was inspired by the death of a Sesser Fire Protection District firefighter named James “Shib” Miller who was hit and killed by a Greyhound bus in 2007 while fighting a truck fire on Interstate 57 in Southern Illinois.

“Firefighters put their lives on the line day in and day out. Too often we forget that the safety of our communities depend on firefighters and others who devote their lives to protecting us. This law will ensure they have the authority necessary to perform their jobs safely and effectively,” Foreman said.

Prior to the new law, which went into effect on January 1, 2009, only law enforcement officers or representatives of the Illinois Department of Transportation had the jurisdiction to close lanes of traffic while responding to an emergency situation.

SB 2488, sponsored by Sen. Gary Forby (D-Benton) and Rep. John E. Bradley (D-Marion), also increases the penalty for reckless homicide when a driver does not follow “Scott’s Law,” which is named for a Chicago firefighter killed in the line of duty. On the books since 2002, “Scott’s Law” requires drivers to change lanes when they approach an emergency vehicle with flashing lights on the shoulder or a construction or maintenance vehicle in a work zone. The penalty will increase to a class 2 felony, punishable by 3-14 years in prison and a $25,000 fine.
About time someone made this a rule. Not that we've had any problems down here in the middle of the state, it's just nice that we have the official authority now.