Pennsylvania bill would toughen snow-free vehicle rule

| 2/1/2011

As a large portion of the nation is being engulfed by a significant snow event, a Pennsylvania state lawmaker is pursuing legislation that is intended to encourage car and truck drivers to clear snow and ice off their vehicles.

Pennsylvania law allows police to ticket violators between $200 and $1,000 if the wintry precipitation causes serious injury or death.

Sen. Lisa Boscola, D-Northampton, said current law is a good first step but it doesn?t go far enough. She is calling for additional protection that would allow police to ticket drivers for failure to clear snow or ice before they take to the roads. Violators would face fines ranging from $25 to $75.

?Too many people let highway winds do their snow removal for them,? Boscola said in a statement. ?But they don?t realize that soft and seemingly harmless snow can easily freeze, harden and turn into chunks of ice that dislodge from a moving vehicle.?

A similar rule is in place across the state line in New Jersey. A Connecticut law will start being enforced in late 2013. New York is another state where the rule is being pursued.

Boscola?s bill would mirror the New Jersey law to require drivers to make ?all reasonable efforts? to remove all accumulated ice or snow from the motor vehicle, including the hood, trunk and roof.

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association and countless truck drivers are opposed to such rules that permit police to pull over drivers whose vehicles were not cleared of snow and ice.

Joe Rajkovacz, OOIDA?s director of regulatory affairs, questions whether the issue is significant enough to warrant passage of a law.

?It amounts to feel-good legislation that is going to lead to the injury of drivers,? he said.

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

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