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New law aims to change signals

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Gov. Rod Blagojevich honored a 21-year-old Olympia Fields college student and Eagle Scout who died in a January car accident through the recent signing of “Dorian’s Law.” Named for Dorian Riley, the law requires certain fire departments and ambulance services to install devices that trigger signal changes at intersections.

The devices have been shown to reduce traffic accidents involving emergency vehicles by giving them the green light right-of-way.

Riley was killed when his four-door Toyota collided with a Ford Heights ambulance at Lincoln Highway and Olympian Way. It later was discovered Ford Heights didn’t have the funds to install the devices on its ambulances.

Under the new law, which was sponsored by state Rep. Robin Kelly (D-Matteson), the state will collect money in a special fund through private donations and grants to help smaller departments purchase the signal light triggers. The law requires larger municipalities in Cook County with populations of at least 50,000 to equip their ambulances by Jan. 1.

Many Southland communities installed the machinery on their emergency vehicles years ago.

“We’ve had ours for at least 12 years,” said Art Granat Jr., Orland Fire Protection District deputy chief. “We haven’t had an accident involving an ambulance since we put them in.”

Palos Heights and the Lincoln-Way communities also use the devices.

Riley was a marketing major at Governors State University, an assistant scoutmaster of Boy Scout Troop 185 in Park Forest and a member of the Rich Township Young Democrats. His father, Al Riley, serves on the Rich Township Board of Trustees.

Riley’s family planted an oak tree in his honor earlier this month at Olympia Fields Bicentennial Park.

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