The measure would require ambulance drivers to slow down and use both lights and sirens before proceeding through red lights or stop signs, and would expand training on situations warranting the use of lights and sirens.
State Sen. Adriane Johnson, who is backing the bill, says she recognized the need for change after a motorcyclist was killed last year when an ambulance ran a stop sign outside her district office in Waukegan.
"The very duty of ambulance drivers is to help save lives – however, we can’t put the risk of other people’s lives in danger," said Johnson (D-Buffalo Grove). "I commend Mr. and Mrs. Stallworth for their bravery and advocacy to tell their late son’s story and uplift his legacy to make adequate change."
Senate Bill 1251 will be named after the North Chicago man who lost his life in that crash.
On the afternoon of May 16, a Waukegan ambulance was transporting a patient to Vista Medical Center when it collided with Donald Stallworth III's motorcycle at the intersection of Lake Street and South Genesee Street. Stallworth later died of his injuries.
The crew driving the ambulance consisted of two Waukegan firefighter/paramedics with three and nine years of experience with the Waukegan Fire Department, the city said.
The 23-year-old man's family says they are hoping the passing of this legislation will save other lives.
"The passing of this bill is very important to our family because our lives have been forever changed. We have experienced an unbelievable loss with the passing of DJ, due to such a tragic accident," said Satrese Stallworth, Donald’s mother.
"He was a beautiful, amazing, talented, and very respectful young man. We will never get to experience his greatness in this lifetime. We don’t want to see another family suffer a great loss and experience the pain we’re enduring. Pain that was inflicted upon us by the people who come to preserve and save life. This is why it’s important to incorporate this law and keep his legacy alive."
Senate Bill 1251 passed the Senate and is expected to be heard before the House in the coming weeks.