Driving a Snow Covered Car in New York may Soon be Illegal Due to Danger of Injury
Frank J. Dito, Jr.
Have you ever drove down a road or even worse a highway a day or two after a snow storm and seen someone driving who had not yet removed the snow and ice from the roof of their car? For anyone who has ever seen this build-up of snow or ice on a vehicle they know that it looks like it could potentially be dangerous if the blanket of snow or ice dislodged from the vehicle. So the question many may be wondering - Is it illegal to not remove snow and ice from your car? The answer to this question really depends on what state you are in. Many states around the country do have a law that if ice or snow fly from your car while you are driving and hit another vehicle, injure someone, or damage property the driver of the uncleaned car is negligent and in many states tickets are issued out to anyone who drives with such negligent conditions regardless of if the snow or ice ever flies off the roof of the car or not.
In New York the law against cars not being cleaned off properly after it snows does not yet exist. A bill was proposed by Senators Dilian, Diaz and Hassell-Thompson on April 27, 2009 to make it illegal to drive your vehicle if the snow and ice has not been properly removed from it. The pending bill is in committee today (February 9, 2010). The passing of this bill would mean safer roads for motorists after a snow fall. The bill proposes that the New York traffic law be amended to state that "no person should operate a motor vehicle on a public street or highway while there is an accumulation of snow, sleet or hail on the roof or cargo bed surfaces thereof whether of an occupant compartment, trailer or other cargo compartment in excess of three inches".
The proposed bill also states that:
- Snow removal law will not apply during snow fall or up to three hours after the snow has cease
- Any non-commercial motor vehicle operator who does not comply with the law will be fined with a ticket in the minimum amount of $150 but no more than the maximum amount of $850.
- Any commercial motor vehicle operator who does not comply with the law will be fined with a ticket in the minimum amount of $450 but no more than the maximum amount of $1250.
- The law does not apply to a motor vehicle transporter, motorcycle or authorized emergency vehicle
In other states, such as New Jersey, it is already against the law to drive your vehicle without clearing your car of all snow and ice first. New Jersey passed the law which enforces the removal of snow from cars before driving a few months ago. With the amount of snow that has been seen and will probably be seen again before this winter is over I am sure that the new law has helped keep many safe so far.
Being injured by snow or ice falling from a car or any other vehicle going down a street or highway can be extremely fatal. A flying chunk of ice or snow hitting the windshield of a car can cause the windshield to break not only creating a danger from the flying ice/snow blanket but also from the glass flying from the broke windshield. Injuries from ice and snow flying from the top of a vehicle can include severe injuries to the neck, face and head and can often leave the need for reconstructive surgery and may possibly even result in death. Making sure that the law against driving without clearing snow from a car will mean safer roads after snow fall.
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