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Wednesday, February 1, 2023

Pennsylvania To Examine Issue Of Snow And Ice Removal From Vehicles

 Sen. Lisa Boscola, D-Northampton, reintroduced a bill that is intended to address the issue snow and ice removal from vehicles. The Senate voted unanimously one year ago to advance the effort. House lawmakers, however, did not take the issue up for discussion.

The bill’s reintroduction on Jan. 23 came one day after an ice projectile reportedly fell from a tractor-trailer on Interstate 80 near Smithfield Township, Monroe County. An occupant in the passenger vehicle struck by the projectile was injured.

Boscola’s bill would authorize law enforcement to issue tickets solely for failure to clear their vehicles of snow and ice.

Pennsylvania law already allows police to ticket car and truck drivers if the wintry precipitation causes serious injury or death. Drivers would face fines of $200 to $1,000.

In prepared remarks, she describes her bill as a “common-sense proposal to protect motorists and their passengers from the dangers of flying snow and ice missiles.”

Boscola has added that her bill is about raising awareness for a potentially hazardous issue. She said that police would not be required to issue tickets for inadequate snow and ice removal.

Drivers would be required to make “reasonable efforts” to remove snow or ice from all parts of their vehicles within 24 hours of a weather event.

Offenders would face a maximum fine of $1,500 if the wintry precipitation causes serious injury or death. The bill would include an additional protection allowing police to ticket drivers. Drivers could be fined $25 to $75 for failure to remove snow or ice before they take to the roads.

As written, truck operators would be excused if they are on their way to a facility to remove accumulated snow or ice. 

In addition, violations would not be issued if compliance would cause the trucker to violate any federal or state law or regulation regarding workplace safety, or if it would be a health or safety threat.

The bill, SB114, is in the Senate Transportation Committee.