Alright Quad Cities, let's have a chat. Lately, I've been seeing a lot of people not moving over for vehicles on the side of the road, emergency and non-emergency. I've also seen a lot of people continuing to drive and not pull over for police, ambulances and fire trucks with their lights on. It's time to follow the law and show respect before someone gets hurt.

It's summer time in the Quad Cities and a lot of people are back on the road. While I know we are all in a hurry to get where we are going, it's important to remember that slowing down and/or moving over for emergency, stalled, or other official vehicles.

Both Iowa and Illinois have strict laws when it comes to not slowing down and/or moving over. If you're caught not moving over or slowing down, or you not doing so results in an accident or injury, you could be facing a pretty big penalty.

Let's start with Iowa. According to the Iowa Department of Transportation, Iowa law states and requires motorists to:

  1. Change lanes or slow down, absent any other direction from a peace officer, when approaching the following vehicles, (Iowa Code section 321.323A):
    • A stationary emergency vehicle that has its flashing lights activated.
    • A stationary tow, recovery, maintenance, construction, solid waste or recycling collection vehicle that has its flashing lights activated.
    • Any stationary motor vehicle, including a passenger vehicle, that is continually displaying its emergency signal lamps (i.e., standard hazard lights).
  2. Yield the right of way to an emergency vehicle displaying flashing lights or giving an audible signal by moving over to the right, stopping and waiting until the vehicle has passed before proceeding. (Iowa Code section 321.324).

The Iowa DOT says that these laws are designed to protect motorists, including motorists stranded by the side of the road, persons being transported in emergency vehicles, and personnel at high risk while performing their duties on Iowa’s roadways.

What's the fines you could face in Iowa for not moving over? Not moving over could cost you $100 plus any surcharge and court costs.

If you not moving over causes a crash that causes damage to property of another person or bodily injury to or death of another person, the Iowa Department of Transportation will suspend your driver’s license/operating privileges, upon 30 days’ notice and without preliminary hearing. Depending on how much damage or harm you cause could get your license suspended for awhile. These are the suspension times according to the Iowa DOT:

  • For a violation causing damage to the property of another person, but not resulting in bodily injury or death of to another person: 90 days.
  • For a violation causing bodily injury to another person: 180 days.
  • For a violation causing death: one year.

Additionally, a person convicted of a violation that resulted in a crash causing bodily injury to or the death of another person may be subject to an additional fine. The additional fine is $500 for a violation causing bodily injury to another person and $1,000 for a violation causing death.

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Onto the Illinois side. In 2019, Governor J.B Pritzker raised the fine for those who violate Scott's Law, also known as the "Move Over Law." A person who violates Scott’s Law, commits a business offense and faces a fine of no less than $250 or more than $10,000 for a first offense. Yikes!

Scott's Law, 625 ILCS 5/11- 907(c), mandates that upon approaching a stationary authorized emergency vehicle, when the authorized emergency vehicle is giving a signal by displaying alternately flashing lights, you shall:

  • Change lanes if possible
  • Always reduce speed, but reduce greatly if unable to change lanes
  • Proceed with increased caution
  • Move over and slow down

If you are driving under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or any other intoxicating substance at the time of the violation, you could be subject to the following suspensions:

  • 90 days to 1 year if the violation results in damage to the property of another person
  • 180 days to 2 years if the violation results in injury to another person
  • 2 years if the violation results in the death of another person

If you are caught violating Scott's Law more than once, you could see a minimum fine of $750 or up to $10,000.

Move over and slow down, people! It's the law!

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