Some people call them ice missiles. You’re driving down I-65 amidst the normal busy caravan of semi-trailer trucks. Suddenly, an avalanche of ice and snow slides off the roof of the vehicle and onto your windshield, blinding you. Even for a few seconds, it’s enough to cause a crash.
Many feel there should be a law. Truth is, there are no specific laws in Illinois that require operators of trucks and to keep the snow and ice clear from atop and around the vehicle – whether it be a truck or a car. In Indiana, there are also no specific laws, but Indiana Turnpike officials can order you off the road if there are ice/snow accumulations.
That seems to be changing around the country, however. More and more states, like New Jersey, now require snow to be cleared before vehicles can be driven. The penalty for commercial vehicles is as much as $1,500 and between $25 and $75 for others.
Pennsylvania, Connecticut and New York are among the states that have passed or are considering similar laws. Legislation is pending in many other states.
A spokesman for the American Trucking Association agrees that ice and snow on trucks can be deadly but claim it is difficult for drivers to keep up with the accumulation.
“We recognize that for passenger and commercial vehicles, excess snow is a hazard,” said Brandon Borgna, a spokesman for the trucking group. “We want to comply with the rules, but there’s often no way practical way to do so.”
Drivers cannot be required to climb up on their rigs and shovel without running afoul of worker-safety provisions, he said, adding that most trucks traveling in New Jersey were passing through. Thus, they are far from terminals, as their home bases are called, where snow-removal equipment may be available.
Experts continue to look for solutions to the problem, especially for the drivers of the big 18-wheelers, to help them more easily clear the ice and snow. While they are on the go, they can’t really anticipate how bad the weather might be.
Meanwhile, let’s just conclude that out of common courtesy, we should all be aware of the need to keep our cars and trucks clear of the elements that are so common during these winter months. Many people also start driving before their own windshields are clear, which inhibits visibility, and a blocked back window can prevent you from seeing other vehicles behind you that may be trying to pass.
Remember, also, that the number of slip and fall cases goes up dramatically during this time of year and, with that, a high incidence of concussions. Again, walk carefully and, if you are a property owner, it is your responsibility to keep your sidewalks clear. Depending on your city and county laws and regulations, you could be fined for non-compliance, not to mention the chance of a lawsuit should someone get seriously injured on your property.
Trucking accidents that victimize the innocent are among our highest priorities here at Tauber Law Offices. Irresponsible drivers, faulty equipment and other factors are among the reasons for otherwise preventable accidents on our highways. If you feel you or a loved one has life-changing injuries as the result of an accident, please contact us immediately. If we believe you have a case, we will work aggressively to get you fair compensation for your suffering. There is never a fee until your case is successfully resolved.