Will drivers have to clear cars fully soon?

Category:  Opinions
Friday, November 1st, 2019 at 8:01 PM

Imagine traveling down the highway on a cold, snowy day.  The road is cleared of snow and fresh salt has been laid. You have complete control of your car until a slab of icy-snow mixture hits the windshield preventing your sight. 

Where did the ice come from? The vehicle in front of you.

This story is not uncommon in Pennsylvania and states like it. Cars on the road still covered in ice and snow can cause major accidents and even death. Currently, Pennsylvania has a law that fines those who do not clean off their car, however, it lacks the prevention step. 

Senate Bill 114 stipulates that vehicles not properly cleaned of snow and ice are still legally able to drive until, “ice is dislodged or falls from a moving vehicle and strikes another vehicle or pedestrian causing death or serious bodily injury.”  In these cases, drivers at fault are subject to fines. 

But 114 can only be used after someone or something has been hurt. By the time the damage is done, the driver who caused the accident could be long gone, either on purpose or by not noticing.

This issue has grabbed the attention of State Sens. Lisa Boscola and Daniel Laughlin, District 49, as they are looking to amend the previous bill. The new additions would grant Pennsylvania police the ability to pull over vehicles if they feel the ice buildup on the car is hazardous.

Boscola has been pushing this bill since Christine Lambert in Palmer Township was killed by a 10-inch slab of ice hitting her car that dislodged from a garbage truck on Christmas Day in 2005. 

“This is completely preventable. We need to act on this now to ensure the safety of all that travel on our roads,” Boscola posted on her Twitter in January 2019.

Virginia, a state that gets noticeably less snow than Pennsylvania, recently passed a law similar to the proposed 114 amendments. According to Virginia’s Legislative Information System, driving with a car that has not been cleared of snow and ice is “a traffic infraction” and drivers are subject to a $100 fine.

Why is this issue so lightly touched on in Pennsylvania where it is more likely to happen, but in Virginia, it’s quickly put into law in less than a year?

The amendments to 114 that are currently being pushed are extremely needed. Drivers need to know the dangers of snow and ice on a car. Weather alone makes the roads more hazardous; drivers shouldn’t have to also worry about it coming off of other cars. 

The snow has yet to come this year, but please be considerate of other drivers and clean off your car when it does come. It will only take a few minutes and something so simple could save someone’s life.

Tags: driving

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