You know when you’re driving down the highway and a big old pile of snow flies off one of the vehicles and hits your windshield? I’m sure we all have experienced the dangerous obstruction and downright annoyance caused by careless drivers who don’t take the time to clear their vehicle before hitting the road. As a truck driver though, it takes more than just a few minutes to clear all that snow and ice from your big rig and it’s really dangerous climbing up on that slippery log roof without a harness. Frankly, it can be a pretty big pain in the you-know-what.
Although some companies already require their drivers clear their snow off their rigs, lawmakers in Pennsylvania are pushing towards making all drivers in their state do it. And if they don’t, they’ll have to pay fines ranging from $25 to $75. Lisa Boscola, state senator in PA says, “while public awareness is key, we must underscore the seriousness of this issue with the force of law.”
When a woman was killed from ice smashing through her windshield on Christmas Day in 2005, Boscola drafted this new legislation called The Snow/Ice Removal Law. The law did not get passed but new regulations were. As it stands currently, truck drivers only receive penalties if the ice, snow, or debris from their vehicle causes death or injury. These fines can range from $200 to $1,000 depending on the circumstances. The goal was to prevent future cases of dangerous scenarios caused by the nasty stuff flying off vehicles, especially large commercial ones. Now, legislature hopes to strengthen the law even further. After all, the debris that can fall onto other drivers vehicles can be a serious threat to safety on the roads.
Truck drivers have mixed feelings about this law. Although a safety concern is a big one not only for the general public but for other truck drivers as well, the process of completely clearing big rigs is an arduous one. It’s cold, slippery, and time consuming. Many truck drivers don’t even know how to completely clear their rigs. The law would ask that truckers make “all reasonable efforts” to clear ice and snow from their trucks. If a police officer happened to think that the snow or ice on a moving tractor trailer “posed a threat to persons or property” the driver would be stopped and fined.
Perhaps if the law gets passed, Pennsylvania would offer up additionally funds to bring technology to rest stops and weigh-stations that would help drivers deal with the dangerous and difficult task of removing wintery-mixes from their over 13-ft roofs. However, Senator Boscola feels the the public shouldn’t have to pay for this, “I’m of the mindset that, why should motorists have to pay for it? Why not the companies themselves who are operating in this commonwealth? This is the cost of running business.”
As far as the danger posed to drivers who have to clear off the roofs of their rigs, “I don’t want to hear the excuse anymore, ‘I can’t climb on top of my rig,” Boscola said. “That’s old, outdated. They don’t have to do that anymore.”