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Proposed Law: Fine Truckers for Uncleared Snow, Ice

tractor trailer snowA law proposed by state Senator Lisa Boscola would impose fines on truck drivers who do not clear ice and snow from their vehicles before driving.

In the winter, it’s common to see chunks of ice and snow flying off the tops of large trucks as they go barreling down the highway.  For drivers traveling behind these trucks, frozen projectiles can hit their windshields and obstruct their vision, or even cause damage. Or, drivers might swerve to avoid being hit, and get into an accident. The proposed bill has been re-introduced with safety in mind. In 2005, a woman from Jim Thorpe, PA, was killed when a chunk of ice dislodged and flew into her windshield.

Under the current law, truck drivers are only penalized if someone gets seriously injured or killed.  Fines range from $200-$1,000 for each offense. Boscola’s law would fine truckers $25-$75 for any uncleared snow that creates a hazard, aiming to prevent these injuries before they occur.

Laws like this one are already in place in New Jersey and Connecticut.

While this law would arguably improve highway safety, some say it is “unnecessary and unsafe.” Many truck drivers have a major concern about how they are to keep their vehicles cleared off. Put simply, clearing ice and snow from a tractor-trailer isn’t the same as walking outside and brushing off your car in the morning. Understandably, truckers, especially those who are older, worry about climbing onto the icy roof of a trailer more than 20 feet off the ground. The roofs of some trailers are not built to support human weight.

But Boscola says that this is an outdated excuse. As an alternative, she proposes that Pennsylvania rest stops and weigh stations install machines that would scrape snow from the tops of large trailers so that truck drivers would not have to do it manually. Some companies, like the Coca-Cola Bottling Company in the Lehigh Valley,  have already put these snow-scraping systems in place.  some  But then, of course, there is a debate about whether the state or the trucking companies should be responsible for their installation. Senator Boscola has said that she would be willing to allocate state funds toward this end, but would rather see the trucking companies step up and claim responsibility for the safety of their operation.

As truck accident lawyers, we believe that highway safety must be the top priority for lawmakers and trucking companies alike. Snow and ice that accumulates on tractor-trailers pose a danger to all other drivers, including other truckers, and should therefore be removed before the truck returns to the road. If you or a loved one have been involved in an accident involving a tractor-trailer, or any kind of weather-related accident, contact the Pennsylvania truck accident lawyers at Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys for a FREE consultation.



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