Bill Would Ban Photos At Accident Scenes

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WBBM) — A state lawmaker doesn’t want drivers to stop and take pictures or videos of vehicle accidents.

As WBBM Newsradio 780’s Alex Degman reports, a measure to ban that practice has passed an Illinois House committee.

LISTEN: Newsradio 780’s Alex Degman reports

The bill’s sponsor, state Rep. Tom Holbrook (D-Belleville), says amateur photographers often get in the way of emergency personnel.

“Putting your cell phone over the firemen’s shoulders as he’s using the jaws of life, maybe to get your grandmother of the front seat of her car while she’s bleeding,” Holbrook said. “You never know with these things. These are horrendous situations for individuals.”

Holbrook says accident victims would still be able to take pictures for insurance purposes.

But the bill says no person may use a wireless device within 500 feet of an accident, except for specified purposes.

  • Rob131

    I understand the need to keep people out of the way of first responders…why not just have that as a law? aren’t people supposed to keep back from fire trucks and emergency response vehicles? are people really standing over the shoulder of firefighters while they operate the jaws of life??

    • Ed Citizen

      I think this has more to do with corrupt officials and public servants being caught on film in the act.

    • Billy12345

      I have never had somone put a camera on my shoulder. I do not know what city this guy lives in to have it happen every day. There are already plenty of laws on the books to deal with this. Democrates love to make new laws because it makes them feel like they are doing somthing. Police officers have camera’s in the cars and they are also at most stop lights. I not bothered by it really

    • Mike

      I wonder if the Trial Lawyers are what really is behind this? Good video makes a case hard to prove otherwise. Democrat/Trial Lawyer..? Hmmm, ya, I’m sure it’s for the good of the people.

    • Doug

      People should not get in the way of rescue efforts and any law made should be one that protects rescue workers from being sued by gawkers who are ‘removed’ from the scene.
      I believe the Supreme Court just ruled that protesters have the right to assemble at private funerals in order to tell people that God hates them so, if that’s the case, how in the world can there be a law that says someone can’t be present , and record, an accident scene? Just wondering.

      • Ken Denbow

        Here is the address and phone number for the Westboro Church.
        Give them a call, or send a letter stating how you feel.
        I did.
        3701 SW 12th St
        Topeka, KS 66604
        (785) 273-0325

      • Julie

        Ken, I actually think a far better thing to do would be protest every single day outside their facility. As loudly as possible. Bullhorns, placards, signs, etc. Free speech goes both ways.

    • leftofme

      This has nothing to do with ensuring the safety of the public or allowing for the free movement of emergency-response personnel. This is a veiled attempt to install laws that prevent the public from any form of recording of public service representatives; i.e. law enforcement agents! They’ll use this legislation as precedent, ultimately claiming that any recording of police activities interferes with their unfettered performance. These are vile people that have taken-over this nation. They want a one-way street, which is their way and only their way.

      • Zinger

        Boy you sure hit the nail on the head

      • Swooper


    • A Firefighter in WA

      Yes.. They are… It happens to me almost daily, and it puts the lives of my crew as well as the victims at risk for further injury.

      • Mindy Sasser

        Firefighter, I agree.

      • Frank

        Call it the “Save a Fire-Fighter” Law – Who could be against that?

        Hopefully, anyone with a brain.

      • Tim

        This is an effort to keep people from video taping and photographing law enforcement officer’s activities PERIOD…the excuse that people are shoving their IPhones over the shoulders of firemen who are operating the jaws of life is utter BS.

      • Janice

        BINGO! This is about politicians providing immunity for police, immunity from Joe Q. Public ever recording any wrongdoing on their part. The premise of protecting rescue workers is just cover for the inevitability of no pictures of any public servants, ever… so there can never ever be any proof of wrongdoing on their part.

      • A Citizen against police abuses in MD

        I doubt seriously that people are close enough as to prevent or inhibit the work of resuce crews in any way. Its just another law that cuts deep into American liberties with a sole purpose of preventing the video taping of law enforcement. They dont want the accountablity.

      • ems

        All my years working ems, I’ve only had a few people get in the way at a call. They were all drunk. Never had one person take a picture over my shoulder, ever.

      • Craigo

        Sorry FAKE firefighter but we are not as stupid as you would like us to be. Why don’t you just admit that you would like to see all freedom destroyed from this great nation?

      • Dave

        As has been stated over and over again, there are already laws against interfering with law enforcement, fire fighters, EMS, etc., in the performance of their duties. This “ban” isn’t about protecting the rescuers. It’s simply a way for a worthless politician to sponsor a bill and feel good about himself.

      • Mark Matis

        There are ALREADY laws against that. Why doesn’t “Law Enforcement” just enforce them? I smell a foul stench here. And it smells like pig.

      • Brad Skidmore

        Yeah it does stink. Just tell them to get the hell out of the way… no more laws.

      • waldo

        We can press charges in MN for interfering. Works better than scene tape. And if you touch me when I am operating at a fire or rescue its a felony, lots of OTHER ways to skin this one. And sorry Craigo it DOES happens all the time….

      • GreyGeek

        I don’t believe you. Law enforcement and firefighters ALWAYS surround the scene of an event (especially fires and serious accidents) with yellow warning tape. Crossing it without permission gets you a hearing before the judge. If your department isn’t doing that some training was missed. The last fire we had in downtown Lincoln resulted in blocking off of all streets surrounding the block or accessing it. Yellow tape kept pedestrians at a distance equal to the height of the building on fire, plus some. Lots of citizen videos were taken. My iPod 4 Touch has 10X zoom camera app, which made the 100′ distance seem like 10′. Even in the heart of the city the blockade remained for nearly three months until the threat of collapsing walls was eliminated and the Fire Marshal completed his investigation.

  • Wayne

    I think the law makers are worried about photos being taken of them when they are invovled in accidents while they are drunk. It makes it difficult to campaign for the next election. (but has no effect if you are a Democrat, cause they will vote for anybody)

  • Ronda P

    Almost without fail, when there is some bone-headed bill brought up, it is by a Democrat. I know they have good intentions, but come on.

    • Denver Deadite

      “Almost without fail, when there is some bone-headed bill brought up, it is by a Democrat”

      Which explains why a Republican in Texas wants to make it a crime to hire illegals… unless they’re doing your housekeeping. Or a Republican in Georgia wants to redefine rape victims as rape accusers. Or many other things that Republicans have brought forth in recent months.

      If you think the only ‘bone-headed’ stuff is brought up by Democrats, you’re far more naive than you realize.

      • call me naive

        “If you think the only ‘bone-headed’ stuff is brought up by Democrats, you’re far more naive than you realize.”

        Right on bro…only about 98 pecent

    • bobo

      @Ronda P, your so right. It sounds like a liberal idea.

    • wiki flood

      Lunge distance is about twenty feet. If you were twenty feet away, your camera can not get in the way, harm, injure, interfere with, or violate anyone’s privacy in public. the extra 480 feet is not necessary.

      Q: Why’re wireless devices more dangerous than chorded devices, like air guitars?
      A: Janet Napolitano’s 43 billion dollar budget and unemployed friends, family.

    • Marv Ostberg

      This case is interesting because the bill would allow victims to take pictures, but not bistanders. Think about that one: trapped, unconscious, or disabled victims take pictures?! No, bistanders taking pictures can provide a valuable evidence trail as long as they do not get in the way of rescuers. This bill was bought and paid for by insurance coompanies I would think.

    • zach

      What makes you think that they have good intentions? In all likelihood this is a ploy on the part of an insurance lobby or even the attorney general to reduce evidence in court.

      • Fanny Forbes Franklen

        “No matter how cynical you become, it’s never enough to keep up.” ~ Lily Tomlin

      • Britney

        thanks zach and leftofme for your point on evidence reduction, that’s the first thing I thought when I read this.
        I don’t see any data showing the numbers of people who died because the scene was cluttered with too many cameras.
        So without proof or evidence that recordings of crimes/accidents/w-e actually are causing fatality, this isn’t a bill worth much more than ‘fluff’.
        Nobody complained when 9/11 happened and the whole world was shown what was happening by not just reporters, but by everyone.

      • Tom W.

        Bingo. ITA. It’s always about money.

      • Protonius

        “Evidence Reduction” the true goal? If so, wouldn’t be the first time. In the days immediately following 911, for example, Mayor Giuliani had signs posted in the WTC vicinity — even blocks away — that declared that taking photos of the scene was banned by Order of the Mayor, and that anyone caught photographing the site would be subject to penalties and would have their cameras confiscated.

        I was there, I saw it, I witnessed military guards pressing some tourists — who were taking pictures of the site –on this point. And I wondered: In any crime-scene, isn’t one of the most valuable records of evidence of what occurred nd, possibly, of how it occurred, PHOTOGRAPHS?


      • yadayads

        It’s got nothing to do with political party, but EVERYTHING to do with politics. Both Democrats and Republicans are NOT on the side of the people. They think it is their “job” to constantly attack us and take away any and all rights that we might have left. It’s disgusting.

    • Tom

      I’ve been a police officer for almost thirty years, and I have never seen drivers, or anyone else for that matter, obstructing emergency workers from performing their duties. I agree with Rhonda, this bill is bone-headed.

    • SpankMeDaddy

      “You never know with these things” is a good intention?

    • Jack Kinch(1uncle)

      Right you are. Pictures are evidence…

    • bubba

      Will be okay to take a photo of Wisconsin legislators dining out on the public’s tab (while hiding in Illinois)?????

    • meadowlands

      You are right on target – it is a ploy by insurance companies. No evidence , no case.

      • Troy

        Don’t think it is a ploy by the insurance co. I would have to believe that more times than not, pictures would work in their favor to absolve their customer of guilt. In a two car accident, seems like one insurance would have to pony up and one would not. They are not always the bad guys, you know.

      • Bob

        I spent 35 years as an insurance claims manager. We would have loved to have photos. If anyone doesn’t want photos, it is ambulance chasing lawyers, the ones who contribute millions to the Democrat legislators.

      • Joe

        Yep – that’s right.

        All you have to do is look at Wisconsin to see who the politicians represent – whoever gives them the money. And in this case, it’s the trial lawyers.

        Not that I’m against lawyers – I’m one myself, though not a personal injury lawyer. But yes, like most lawyers, I do indeed contribute to my politicians – because of all the benefits they bring to us. That’s the sad reality of our system.

    • Rose

      I don’t think they have good intentions at all. Trial lawyer is written all over this.

  • BornFreeAmerican

    Insane! Every picture tells a story don’t it!! What are the lawyers being put out of business by a video or a picture? It makes their job harder, oh woe is me! The truth be told!!!

    • M K

      Classic example of lawyers wanting more laws. I’m certain there are existing laws than can be enforced should anyone be legitimately interfering with rescue personnel and police at the scene of an accident. This is a clear case of some lawmaker who had a friend or relative photographed and a personal effort to prevent that….sorry, this is America and this legislation is simply another form of censorship and an infringement on our freedom of the press and free speech.

      • Gibbs Bentley

        “The law does not pretend to punish everything that is dishonest. That would seriously interfere with business.” ~ Clarence Darrow


    • BJ

      you are right it is insane. The picture is the key sometings what happen. These laymakers should be working on lowering taxes and getting people back to work.

      • Charles U. Farley

        Dems HATE truth.

    • Ellen

      You guys are missing the point. The article neglected to list the point.

      People are showing up at accident scenes, taking pictures and posting videos on You Tube of these people dying.

      Is that okay with you?

      • Scott

        It’s called the First Amendment: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances

      • Sean

        And I bet attorneys are using this video to make the insurance company pay. After some hard hitting payouts insurance companies will strike at the messenger. I think it is not wise to post gore but it does let these litle pukes know you can and will die if you drive irrespomsibly. Last night we had a 34 year old die in a single vehicle crash speed alcohol and drugs are suspected. We already have enough laws on the books. They think about if they make it illegal they just ship the video over seas and it gets released under another countrys flag. Can’t stop the www

      • Joe Bob

        Youtube doesn’t allow GORE or DEATH videos.

        There are already plenty of laws to deal with this. Enforce an existing law, don’t just make more laws.

      • Gary


        It’s called FREEDOM.

        Where is the harm in taking a picture? So the person dies. Did taking that picture kill them? What if just as you took it something happened that actually was the cause of the death? Like an emergency responder doing something wrong, for example. Ya’ think the relatives would want that picture for court?

        We have a government gone mad. Congressmen breaking every possible law. Government theft of our tax dollars by the trillions – giving it away and refusing to even tell us who got the money, and these people want to have a person with a camera phone arrested! Madness.

    • grebis

      “Course it’ll be okay if it’s all caught on CCTV…….

  • Jsmith7777

    I wonder how Jody Weis feels about this? Without free press, we are not free. This bill is a disgusting, thinly veiled attempt to perpetuate our growing police state. What a bunch of Nazis!

    • Camila

      I completely agree.

      • TheChairman

        Indeed… people need to learn that the Nazis were LEFTISTS!

        Liberals seem to forget ‘Nazi’ stood for ‘National SOCIALIST’.

        Also, how is the VICTIM supposed to take photos if injured?


      Illinois is ONE BIG MOB STATE! I got out.

  • mark

    @Ronda P – Really, you think they have good intentions?

  • Stanley

    Lawmakers are blithering idiots. All of them are.

  • chuck s

    No photo evidence–Then the lib lawyers can twist it anyway they like to extract more money in a lawsuit.

    • Who cares


      If it’s a stupid law follow the money. Especially if it’s introduced by a Progressive Dem.

    • Chaos

      Um, lawyers would want to have photos, not the other way around.

  • Lou


  • XENO77777

    This proposed Bill, banning wireless devices and Camera’s is an Evil Restriction on Freedom of the Press, and is meant to help the Big Insurance Companies battle Big jury Awards, because then there would be no Photos to convince the Jury of the Seriousness of the Accident!

    • Mindy Sasser

      So let me guess, you consider yourself a member of the press and this bill will take away your rights to what??? Take pictures of someone else’s loved one with their brains splattered all over the road?

      Have some respect.

      • GaryResler

        “Have some respect”

        The last time I checked it was a personal freedom of expression to respect or not respect something. You might be right that its disrespectful to take photos and videos at accident scenes, but the government has no power to force an individual to “respect” anything.

        Remember, even though there are things that other people do that you do not believe are proper, there are also things that you do that people feel that same way about.

      • onceproudamerican

        Now that we have the Internet, EVERY American is a potential member of the press.

        Some blogs have more readers than some of the newspapers in this country.

        Why would YOU want to not allow your fellow citizens to spread the news of the day WITHOUT CENSORSHIP?

        If your read our history, the founder’s had and EXTREME distrust of ANYONE holding power. Remember, they ALL work for US, they ALL volunteered for the job, and can quit anytime they want.

        Have some respect…

      • JM in San Diego CA

        That has nothing to do with it. You have failed to grasp the evil inherent in this bill.

      • Billofrights

        Freedom of the Press, as set forth in the First Amendment, is a right enjoyed by us all, not just people who work in news media. Heck, today anyone with a camera and access to the Internet can be a member of the “press.”

      • Will

        You are falling prey to a simple tactic. The law bans wireless devices and cameras within 500 feet of an accident, that goes a lot further than preventing a simple case of bad manners with a camera. It effectively shields police, firefighters, rescue personnel from any kind of public observation without government approval. If that doesn’t worry you then you are sleep walking. I hope you see the connection between this and government efforts to restrict digital evidence of wrong doing by police and airport screening personnel?

  • JD

    This bill is probably a request from the MSM so they have no compitition from private blogs making better news then they make.

  • cluelessinky

    Having spent the majority of my adult life in emergency services, I have always made the scene of an accident a crime scene, and kept the ghoulss out of it. If asome pushed their way in I arrested them for interfering with governmental operations. I assume that Illinois all ready has such a law on the books, why duplicate it?

  • bob

    The next bill on the agenda… change the definition of an accident.

  • Ronda P

    @Mark – LOL, I was trying to be magnanimous! My usual test for a liberal is: Stupid, evil or both?

  • zach

    This is your police state, hard at work, for you. Enjoy.

  • WeThePeople

    I understand the need to reduce public “litter” while trying to work on an accident.
    But there are hidden consequences of this bill.

    It looks more like this is being implemented to protect emergency workers and insurance companies from lawsuits due to negligence or dereliction of duties.

    I would like to point out that The Bill must include clear and concise language that those involved in the accident or their representative (family, friends or layer) MUST have free access to film (still or movie) the entire goings on during and after the rescue activity.

    Both for their protection and for the Emergency worker and the Insurance Companies protection.

    • Bill

      We the People has given a cogent, well thought out analysis. Many of the comments are vituperous political opinions. The topic should concern us all.

      • conservbro

        @Bill – Oh really Bill. Let’s start with We The People’s unsubstantiated assertion that there is a need to reduce public “litter” while trying to work on an accident. Where is the evidence of this? Certainly when government endeavors to restrict a freedom of the ciitizens they should at least demonstrate first that behavior has posed a problem and that restricting that behavior will be a solution.

        If a good samaritan decides that he wants to provide succor to a victim of an automobile accident by providing water while she is trapped in a car as emergency personnel work to extricate her, does there need to be a law specifically prohibiting administering water?

        It seems to me that if the concern was about not interfering with emergency personell that the law would be directed to just that not specifically taking pictures. This is obviously another attempt to buy off a politician by a lobbyist.

      • Regulas

        It needs to be pointed out that the left are an enemy of freedom and basically loony, hence the name loony left.

  • Gayle

    You can’t take a clear picture within 500 ft. The lawmaker presenting the bill is a Dem. and lawyers contribute BIG to their campaigning. Lawyers don’t want people taking pictures because it makes defending the case harder on them in court. People don’t “lean over a fireman’s shoulder” to take a picture.

  • Ronda P

    @Afrosheen – A little transparent trolling there jerk. You need to go get retrained by Soros.

  • Rascal


    • Alex

      How exactly is that unconstitutional? Where in the constitution does it say that you have the right to photograph someone on a accident scene? What about that person’s rights to not be put on youtube or facebook when they’re at their most powerless and lowest point??

      The problem isnt about a “police state” (Which is utterly stupid, watch the news, look at governments firing into protesters and you’ll see a police state) and it’s not about any Freedoms, it’s about a utter lack of respect or boundaries for other people.

      You’re a ghoul .. you want to photography blood..

      • youtahd

        you idiot – if you doubt the freedom to take the picture is a right (which it isn’t) why would your defense be an equally non existent “right” to privacy? Wat’s utterly stupid is your inability to identify the symptoms of an impending police state.

      • Alex

        Since people in the modern world seem to have such a sense of entitlement that EVERYTHING is their business

      • Alex

        Except that’s not what they’re saying..
        They’re saying that you cannot take a picture within 500 feet in order to keep JOE NOSEY out of the way of rescue workers and perhaps protect the privacy of people involved in the accident.

      • Andrew P.

        @Peter007: anything not governed by the federal govt is left for the states to govern. And the constitution (incl. the amendments) makes no mention of a right to photograph the public. Therefore, if enacted, this law would not be unconstitutional. You can’t just call something “unconstitutional” because you don’t like it.

      • Peter007

        There is no power that the government has to forbid anyone from taking photographs in public.
        Thats why its unconstitutional.

    • DeputyMarshal

      Rascal… Nicely crafted. Nothing else matters after that

  • ssquared

    This is the lawmader equivelant of “Nero dithered while Rome burned”.

    Don’t the idiots in Springfield have better things to LIKE GETTING SPENDING UNDER CONTROL than sit around passing stupid meaningless laws like this?

    In the first and last place you can’t pass a law agsinst human nature!

  • sean patriot

    You know, The more these idiots makes stupid laws, the more we are going to b reak them. GO HOME MORONS WE DONT NEED THE GOVERNMENT IN OUR LIVES LIKE THIS !!

    • Mindy Sasser

      Well, maybe when you are lying there half dead in a wreck, we will let some idiot take pictures of you and put them up on the internet, then as you requested, all of the emergeny personel will just GO HOME.

      • hehaw

        He didn’t request that you moron! He requested the legislature go home before they pass some other meaningless regulation. Perhaps you should try to avoid being stupid in public.

      • RightIsWrongLeftIsStupid

        God Mindy you are an idiot.

  • sean patriot

    I’m starting to think we need to go “Libya” on our governments ass too.

    • Alex

      Right. and what exactly will YOU put in it’s place?? HMM??

  • Jim

    I , for one, am enjoying our new totalitarian overlords.

  • bvdon

    Yeah… but the police state can have hidden cameras to get you on a rolling stop red light… just got one. $158 for not coming to a full stop on a right turn at red light…. NO TRAFFIC. Of course, we all know it’s for our safety and money has nothing to do with it.

  • Jack

    What if such photos are necessary for law suits or prosecution of criminals?

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