The Kendall County, Ill., Sheriff’s Office is piloting a new tool that will help inform motorists of emergency situations while they’re on the road.

The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) is working with AAA and the sheriff’s office to test the new technology that will provide early warning notifications to motorists approaching emergency scenes or when emergency vehicles are approaching.

“It’s great to finally see these systems being tested and evaluated,” said IDOT Safety Programs Unit Chief Juan David Pava. “I look forward to seeing the results on the effectiveness and reliability of these systems.”

Through a grant from AAA, the sheriff’s office can equip 20 patrol vehicles with the technology. IDOT said that motorists can receive the alerts on their smartphones or by using Waze, Apple CarPlay or Google CarPlay when a Sheriff’s Office vehicle is nearby.

AAA said in a statement the system aims to reduce response time for emergency services and allows motorists to make informed decisions and safely navigate around emergency situations as required by Scott’s Law, commonly known as the Move Over Law.

“By staying informed and leveraging technology to our advantage, we can work together to create safer roadways, protect our first responders, and safe lives,” said Kendall County Sheriff Dwight Baird.

IDOT said in a statement that over the next three years the department is investing $250,000 to research how effective the Digital Alert System Technology is, and how to increase its use. The state also noted that research will evaluate the system’s effectiveness in reducing operating speeds, increasing compliance with Move Over Law requirements, and reducing the number of crashes and near-crash instances.

“Having the location of emergency vehicles with lights activated broadcasted to navigation apps and in-cab notification systems for compatible vehicles is a big deal,” Pava said. “I’m hopeful for positive results from our research and allowing us to look at implementing this technology in more first responder and IDOT vehicles. I am confident that increased use of innovative technologies will save lives.”

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