New York lawmaker pursues tougher rules for snow-free vehicles

| 2/12/2008

Concern about chunks of frozen precipitation falling off moving vehicles has led a New York state lawmaker to pursue legislation intended to improve safety on roadways.

Assemblyman Mike Spano, D-Yonkers, has offered a bill that would force truckers and other drivers to remove ice, snow, sleet and hail from their vehicles before taking to the state’s roadways.

Drivers of commercial motor vehicles found in violation would face fines between $450 and $1,250. Other motorists would face fines between $150 and $850. No points would be added to driver’s licenses.

New York law already prohibits driving a vehicle with an obstruction – though it is not specific to snow and ice. New Jersey and Pennsylvania are the only states to have specific snow and ice rules on the books.

Spano said a specific law for snow and ice in New York would make enforcement easier.

“Our state’s snowy winter months are hazardous enough for motorists without having to worry about flying snow and ice debris from cars in front of them,” Spano said in a written statement.

Trucking industry officials say the rule would be nearly impossible to comply with. They also cite concerns about requiring people to climb atop large vehicles to remove snow or ice.

Spano doesn’t buy that argument. He said complaints about requiring drivers to climb atop their vehicles to remove the wintry precipitation amounts to nothing more than “minor inconveniences” that are outweighed by the positives.

The bill – A5773 – is in the Assembly Transportation Committee.

To view other legislative activities of interest for New York, click here.

– By Keith Goble, state legislative editor