The New Jersey Motor Truck Association
reports it has been fielding one horror story after another of the lengths to which some in law enforcement are enforcing the state's new snow and ice law, and is asking for further documentation to present to government officials.
In one case, captured on camera by a NJMTA member, a Port Authority Police Officer assigned to Teterboro Airport decided to stop any vehicles with snow on their roofs, cars and trucks alike, in a nearby industrial park.
One truck driver that had picked up a trailer that had about 3 inches of snow accumulated on the roof was stopped by the officer and issued a ticket. As the driver attempted to leave, the officer told him to remove the snow from the roof of the trailer. The driver contacted his office and was told he could go two blocks to the company that leased their vehicles and they would remove the snow from the trailer.
But the officer advised the driver that if he didn't remove the snow and ice from his roof immediately, he would be arrested. The driver advised his company, and they called a customer in the area that dropped off a ladder and shovel for the driver. The officer proceeded to watch as the driver struggled to the roof and remove the snow.
According to NJMTA, the law does not require the truck driver to remove the snow and ice from the roof. The law also says that if you are going to a snow removal facility, you should not be ticketed. The law also places the burden on the person controlling the equipment during the storm. In this case, the customer had the responsibility to remove the snow, not the truck driver.
"While we all can agree that snow and ice falling from a roof is a serious safety issue, it is equally a serious safety issue requiring truck drivers on the road being required to remove the snow," the association said in a notice to its members.
The association is asking for additional examples of problems with enforcement of the new law, preferably with video, photos or other documentation to support the story. All of the stories will be collected and a letter will be set to the members of both the Assembly and Senate Transportation Committees that passed this law.
In the meantime, you may want to make sure that your drivers are familiar with the law, which went into effect last fall and requires snow and ice to be removed from vehicles. To view a copy of the law, click here.
Across the border in Pennsylvania, another state legislator wants to enact a similar law. Calling ice on vehicles a "potentially deadly highway hazard," state Sen. Lisa Boscola (D-Northampton/Lehigh/Monroe) last month reintroduced legislation that would require motorists to clear snow and ice off their cars and trucks before driving.
Under her bill, drivers must make "all reasonable efforts" to remove accumulated snow or ice from their vehicles before driving. If a law enforcement officer believes accumulated ice or snow "may pose a threat to persons or property," a driver could be fined from $25 to $75.
Current Pennsylvania law that was pushed and championed by Boscola says if snow or ice falls or is dislodged from a vehicle, causing death or serious bodily injury, the operator of that vehicle is subject to a fine. The fine ranges from $200 to $1,000 for each offense.