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Cheryl Hirsh's Story

On Oct. 5, 2017, Pittsburgh-area resident Scott Hirsh was killed in a disabled vehicle crash on the shoulder of a local expressway after stopping to change a flat tire.  According to witnesses, the driver of the vehicle who hit Hirsh was traveling at an estimated 65 mph and never hit the brakes when he crossed over two lanes of traffic and hit the defenseless Hirsh as he worked on his disabled vehicle on the shoulder.

In the wake of his death, Hirsh's family, led by his widow Cheryl, fought to have charges brought against the driver who hit him, but the police were unable to charge the driver. The Hirsch's story caught the attention of Pennsylvania State Senator Pam Lovino, who sponsored legislation called "Scott's Law." The legislation calls for significant penalties for drivers who hit pedestrians.

Scott's Law gives the same protections to pedestrians that the state's Steer Clear Law affords emergency workers, like police, EMS and PennDOT workers.

Drivers must pass in a lane not adjacent to these emergency response areas.  If that’s not possible, drivers must pass at no more than 20 mph. Violators who do not give those people ample room can be fined and have their license suspended, and even face jail time. Disabled motorists are required to designate their own safety zone – as Hirsh did that day (by moving over as far as safely possible, putting on emergency hazard flashing lights, and setting up flares or orange safety cones).

Cheryl Hirsh and her family are planning to continue their quest for safer roads, and will focus on public education programs on safer driving and setting up emergency response areas.

Media coverage of the incident and aftermath:

  • KDKA Channel 2 (CBS) Pittsburgh – Bill seeks to give pedestrians more protections after no charges in man’s death on I-279 – “Scott’s Law’ would give pedestrians the same protection as Pennsylvania’s Steer Clear Law