New Jersey bill would mandate snow-free vehicles

| 2/8/2006

A bill in the New Jersey Assembly calls for drivers who fail to clear snow and ice off their vehicles to be fined. The rule would apply to commercial and non-commercial vehicles.

Sponsored by Assemblyman Eric Munoz, R-Summit, the bill would permit police to pull over drivers whose vehicles are not cleared of snow and ice.

Drivers would be responsible for making “all reasonable efforts to remove accumulated ice or snow from the motor vehicle, including the hood, trunk and roof prior to operation,” Munoz wrote.

Violators would face a fine between $25 and $75. No points would be assessed against the driver’s license.

The provision would not apply to snow or ice that accumulates on a vehicle while it is in motion. Munoz said he doesn’t want to substitute one dangerous practice for another by requiring drivers to pull to the side of the road during a storm solely to clean the vehicle.

He said his intent is “to target drivers who fail to clean their cars, vans or trucks before heading out following a storm.

“Road conditions may be improved, the weather may be clear but some drivers neglect to clean their vehicles and continue to create a hazard on the roads. At the least, snow or ice falling from a vehicle may impair visibility for other drivers or result in a shattered windshield; at the worst, these avoidable conditions may take a life.”

A959 is in the Assembly Law and Public Safety Committee.

New Jersey isn’t alone in its pursuit of snow-free vehicles.

A Pennsylvania state lawmaker has introduced a bill that seeks the same protections for drivers in that state.

Sponsored by Sen. Lisa Boscola, D-Northampton, the measure calls for violators to face a fine between $25 and $75.

The fines would increase to between $500 and $1,500 for large trucks if a build-up led to an injury or property damage.  For cars that caused damage or injury the fine would range from $200 to $1,000.

The bill – SB902 – is in the Senate Transportation Committee.