With the year’s first significant snowfall upon us, Assemblyman Jim Tedisco (R,C-Schenectady-Saratoga) was reminded of the tragic death of Jessica Smith, who was killed when a 9-foot piece of ice dislodged and flew from the top of an 18-wheel truck into the windshield of a truck traveling in the opposite direction. The driver of the damaged truck consequently lost control of his vehicle and crashed into Jessica’s car, killing her.
Tedisco today introduced legislation to end such senseless deaths and to help prevent possible injury and property damage. His bill, similar to a New Jersey state law, amends the state Vehicle and Traffic Law to impose fines on motorists who do not remove snow and ice from their vehicles before driving on streets and highways.
"All too often New Yorkers find themselves behind a vehicle with hard packed snow or ice flying off of it that obstructs their view of the road and surrounding traffic," said Tedisco. "This is a dangerous situation that is often compounded by slick roads and already poor visibility.
"Pedestrians are in danger as well. There have been incidents of ice and snow sliding off vehicles and hitting people on sidewalks and at crosswalks.
"Motorists have a responsibility to keep their vehicles safe, such as having working headlights and tires with sufficient tread. The same standards should apply to clearing vehicles of snow and ice."
Tedisco’s legislation would impose fines for not clearing a vehicle of ice and snow before operation that range from $150 to $850 for noncommercial vehicles and $450 to $1,250 for commercial vehicles. Under the bill, motorists would have three hours after the end of a snowfall to remove snow and ice from their vehicles. For safety purposes, drivers would not have to stop during a snowstorm to clean their vehicles.
"New York drivers should not have to endure another winter season of driving behind vehicles while snow and ice blows off the roof," Tedisco said. "It poses an unnecessary and potentially life-threatening situation for drivers.
"I urge the state Legislature to take action on this legislation before another death or accident occurs due to snow or ice falling off a moving vehicle."
*If you have an example of ice or snow falling off of a moving vehicle, please contact Assemblyman Tedisco’s office at 12 Jay St., Schenectady, New York, 12305.