Gov. Pritzker signs law toughening Scott's Law

Craig Wall Image
Friday, August 13, 2021
Gov. Pritzker signs law to strengthen Scott's Law
The wife of an Illinois State Trooper who was catastrophically injured during a call spoke out against distracted driving as the governor signed a bill to toughen Scott's Law.

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WLS) -- The wife of a state trooper issued an impassioned plea to distracted drivers as Governor JB Pritzker signed a law to toughen enforcement of Scott's Law.

Scott's Law requires drivers to slow down and move over for first responders to protect them as they do their job.

"I got the phone call that every spouse of a first responder dreads and all they said is it's bad, but he's breathing," said Lauren Frank, Illinois state trooper's wife.

That phone call came on a snowy day in February. Illinois State Trooper Brian Frank made one final stop at the end of his shift to help a motorist. A driver doing 80 miles per hour on I-55 slammed into the back of Frank's squad car, leaving him with traumatic brain injuries.

"Today Brian remains in a minimally conscious state. The roller coaster that we've been on for six months has been excruciating. And it was all preventable," Frank said.

Preventable if the driver had slowed down and moved over as Scott's Law requires.

"This is a wake-up call. For every resident of Illinois, you're distracted driving could be someone else's worst nightmare," said Pritzker.

The governor signed a bill strengthening enforcement by adding community service as a tool for judges to use against violators.

"We can't legislate bad people from doing evil things, we can't stop all the accidents on the highway. But I'm going to try," said State Rep. Fran Hurley, (D-Chicago), bill sponsor.

Brian Frank one of 17 troopers hit this year.

"When you get into a vehicle lay down your distractions, lay down your hurry, lay down your phone. Lay it down," his wife said.

The State Police director is hoping people pay attention.

"Maybe, maybe, if they listened, just a little bit to what she had to say, they'll slow down, they'll move over, they'll give a damn about what's going on around them," said Brendan Kelly, ISP director.

Kelly said he would like to see the same system that sends out Amber Alerts to cell phones, be modified to alert drivers to roadside emergencies near them so they can be prepared to slow and move over.