An Illinois State Police District 16 squad car was struck by a Scott’s Law violator on Interstate 39 in Winnebago County in January 2022. | LMCS File Photo

The Illinois State Police are asking the public to stay off the roadways unless necessary during the severe winter storm expected to begin Thursday morning.

The Illinois State Police (ISP) said those whose travel is necessary should allow enough time for travel and remain focused on the hazardous road conditions.

Drivers should slow down and move over for vehicles stranded on the side of the road and for emergency vehicles and personnel assisting them.

Police say that Scott’s Law-related crashes are “100% preventable.”

Scott’s Law Day is coincidentally recognized on December 23 of each year to honor public safety workers and to remind motorists to slow down and move over when approaching any vehicle with its emergency or hazard lights activated.

The ISP says they have seen an increasing number of crashes involving Scott’s Law violations within the past five years.

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Illinois Transportation Secretary Omer Osman said the agency’s priority is making sure roads are safe for the public during the upcoming storm.

“Completely clearing roads during and after a weather event can take some time and depends on a variety of factors. We will get the job done, but ask the public to please remain patient during winter weather and always check before driving anywhere for the most updated road conditions,” Osman said.

There have been 25 ISP squad cars struck in relation to Scott’s Law violations and a total of 10 troopers injured from those crashes so far this year.

During one of the first major storms earlier this year, ISP officials investigated five separate traffic crashes involving ISP squad cars.

“With the hazardous winter weather approaching, it is extremely important everyone follow the rules of Scott’s Law, which require motorists to move over when approaching emergency and other vehicles stopped on the side of the road,” ISP Director Brendan F. Kelly said.

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“Our Troopers and roadway workers are risking their lives to make the roadways safe. Do your part, remain attentive, slow down, and move over, so that we all make it home safely, not only this weekend, but always,” Kelly said.