More States Want Snow/Ice Off Trucks

February 1, 2016

By David Cullen

SHARING TOOLS        | Print Subscribe
Photo: Maxwell Technologies
Photo: Maxwell Technologies

The late January “Snowzilla” blizzard aside, this winter in the Northeast so far pales in ferocity to the seemingly endless parade of snowstorms that pounded the region a year ago.

Nevertheless, the word is out from statehouses and state police barracks from Pennsylvania to Vermont that for safety’s sake, snow and ice should be cleared off trucks before they take to the roads.

In the Keystone State, Senator Sen. Lisa Boscola (D-18) has reintroduced a bill that would allow the police to stop a trucker if they believe snow or ice accumulated on a truck poses a threat to persons or property.

The bill's language contends that any driver of a vehicle of gross weight exceeding 48,000 pounds has “an affirmative duty to make all reasonable efforts to remove all accumulated ice or snow from the motor vehicle,” including the roofs of tractors and trailers.

Pennsylvania Senate Bill 94 calls for those cited for operating with accumulated snow or ice — whether or not any of it came loose — to be fined $25 to $75 per occurrence. In addition, “when ice or snow falls from a moving vehicle and strikes another vehicle or pedestrian causing death or serious bodily injury,” the driver would be fined no less than $200 and up to $1,000 for each offense.

Speaking at a Jan. 27 hearing on the bill, Boscola said the bill is “about safety and responsibility. Safety for motorists and truckers alike as well as responsibility for freight and shipping companies to be a good corporate neighbor and to install appropriate snow removal equipment.”

She added that if the language of the bill “doesn’t satisfy the trucking community, I would be happy to work with them on language they can support.”

During the hearing, Jim Runk, president and CEO of the Pennsylvania Motor Truck Association, said the group had been working on how best to overcome the challenge of removing snow and ice “for years” with manufacturers, noting that ice removal is the biggest problem, per a York Dispatch report.

“The problem is the tops of trailers are made up of fiberglass or other thin material, so it can't be walked on and you have to be careful about tearing it up when removing the snow," said Runk.

He also remarked that "loads could have hospital supplies or food or whatever that needs to be delivered, so what's a 'reasonable effort' when you're driving up from Arizona? We're not fighting [the bill], but we want to come up with realistic solutions.”

"We get that it's hard, but the bottom line is that this is a safety issue," said Steve DeFrank, Sen. Boscola’s chief of staff. “[The fines are] low intentionally because we know this is controversial," he added. "I'm not sure this is a deterrent, but it's more about creating awareness."

Meanwhile, in neighboring New York State, legislation has been introduced to address snow and ice accumulation on vehicles. Kendra Hems, president of the New York State Motor Truck Association, told HDT that two similar bills are under consideration by the transportation committees of both the Assembly and the Senate.

In another New York neighbor, Vermont, no law is yet on the books requiring snow and ice removal from vehicles. That was pointed out in a Jan. 30 Burlington Free Press news report on “a large chuck of ice” that came off a tractor-trailer and went through the windshield of an oncoming SUV to injure its driver.

The newspaper noted that the Green Mountain State does not have a law regarding the removal of snow and ice from trucks.

The Burlington Free Press also reported that in December 2014, the Vermont State Traffic Operations Unit issued a press release that stated: “The Vermont State Police wants to remind the motoring public to clear all snow and ice from the roof and windshields of their vehicles. Snow dislodging from a moving vehicle creates an extreme driving hazard for all motorists." 


  1. 1. darrel [ February 01, 2016 @ 02:33PM ]

    are the states going to put in place facilities with safety harness in place so a driver can get the top of the cab and whatever he has on his trailer so that the diver does not fall and injury themselves. Has anyone taken this into consideration.

  2. 2. Jim Dolllahan [ February 01, 2016 @ 02:46PM ]

    I agree with the story completely. Snow on top of a vehicle is a major safety hazard. All I want to know is: Who will foot the bill for snow removal equipment to be placed at every rest area, truck stop and drop lot in the state. The tax payers should really enjoy this answer.

  3. 3. christopher bordeaux [ February 02, 2016 @ 03:56AM ]

    Both are excellent comments. You also have to realize that manufacturers weight limit per square foot on the new fiberglass roofs will not support the weight of the snow and a person to remove it. You will need a gantry to allow the individual to safely get high enough to remove the snow. But even the commercial removal systems have a difficult time getting the layer of ice that is usually under the snow off.

  4. 4. Russ [ February 02, 2016 @ 07:55AM ]

    What a bunch of bs

  5. 5. Dennis [ February 02, 2016 @ 08:29AM ]

    Besides the problem of how to remove the snow and ice before starting to and how to remove it during a storm while driving what is magical about 48000 lbs? Grammar police don't even start. I know it is a run on sentence.

  6. 6. Tom Mansfield [ February 02, 2016 @ 09:37AM ]

    I would be ok with doing this if there was a safe way to do it. To make this law work for everyone, they need to consider the construction of trailers (dry vans often have flimsy roofs that you can't walk on), and how the driver is to climb up there and who is going to provide the means to do it.

    To make the law without making sure that reasonable means exist and are reasonably attainable for most to comply with it sounds like nothing more than a revenue generator.

  7. 7. Dan Tuck [ February 02, 2016 @ 05:28PM ]

    And how about all the ice that gets built up underneath the trucks?
    How is a driver supposed to keep that from building up, while going down the road, all the while wondering what cop on a power trip is going to play God and arbitrarily determine just how much snow and ice is too much and pull him over just to write the ticket and express his superiority...

  8. 8. dave [ February 02, 2016 @ 09:41PM ]

    What ever happened to it just being a random accident. The rarety of ice falling from a truck and killing someone.... its like lightning striking a person. Of course since we live in a nanny state in 2016, we would force ways to send drivers on top of there trailers and dangerously remove snow. I sure as hell am not climbing 14 feet ontop of an icey trailer.

  9. 9. jct [ February 03, 2016 @ 11:40AM ]

    don't drive in winter( unemployment) or waite till it melts!! CALL YOUR COMPANY!!!!!

  10. 10. Joseph Layman [ February 03, 2016 @ 04:14PM ]

    I think before these people make these laws they should be forced to ride with a driver for a month and do these things that they think is so safe. And then they'll see all these 4 wheelers are the problem and not us drivers. For one they always tail gate, and constantly cut us off. And police do the same thing .

  11. 11. Bridget [ February 03, 2016 @ 07:05PM ]

    This is stupid now they want us to break our necks getting on top of trailers and tractors because of snow blowing off when we drive but nothing is being said about passenger vehicles when snow blows off of them what's good for one type of vehicle should be done to all these stupid laws are why this country is in such a fucked up state now! Find more serious matters to address or maybe we should put people who have more common since in office than the people who have more money than they have since!

  12. 12. Russell [ February 03, 2016 @ 07:17PM ]

    Simple don't go to PA

  13. 13. Michael Galorath [ February 06, 2016 @ 08:54AM ]

    Sounds like another law that the government is going to shove down out throat. I like the comment that the politicians should spend some time seeing what a truck driver has to deal with. Besides the fall protection which is required by OSHA along with a possible railing. I have a Idea for a new company. Follow around the snow storms with bucket trucks. Like the roofers do after a wind storm. Lets see $200.00 per trailer or straight truck. I can sell franchises companies. What do you do during a snow storm and you and 1000 other trucks are parked on the hwy, like what just happened on the east coast this past January. Wait until the snow is removed? What happens to time sensitive freight. Need I go on. I tried something similar a few years ago in the Chicago area where we had 18 inches of snow. I had 4 people just removing snow for a week. Then we replaced about 12,000 roof bows on 600 trailers and we did not walk on any roofs.

  14. 14. Steve P [ February 06, 2016 @ 11:43AM ]

    How about we just do not deliver anything to the North all winter long and see how long this Law stays in Affect. Morons we are Governed by Morons

  15. 15. JOHN [ February 06, 2016 @ 11:57AM ]

    i am all for this saftey feature as long as all snow and ice is cleared off the roads first thanks

  16. 16. Don [ February 06, 2016 @ 04:52PM ]

    Okay. Let's put all of the variables in place while writing these new laws.
    1. The new law includes snow and ice accumulated on the roofs of trucks and trailers.
    2. They can fine the driver, whether it falls off the truck or not, only if they feel it may cause a safety risk.

    Now let us look at the other end of this one sided sword.
    1. Who is looking out for the safety of that driver they just told to remove the snow and ice off of their truck 13 feet in the air
    2. Who is paying that companies insurance bill when their premiums quadruple because of injured drivers trying to clean their trucks.
    3. You make it law that I wear a seat belt so people think you care, but let me see you climb up on that ice covered trailer 13 feet in the air during a snow storm to try to sweep off all of the frozen mess up there and fall off while doing so.

    I guess the next lawsuit the government will be looking at is brought by the family of a driver who died trying to clean his trailer roof off because DOT would not let him leave the truck stop until he did.

  17. 17. Jim [ February 08, 2016 @ 09:17AM ]

    All these comments from drivers complaining that they may have to climb on top of a trailer roof to clean snow off. What a smoke screen. Of all the drivers out there you will be lucky to find 2% of them that would do it even it there were safety devices in place. 98% of them will complain they do not get payed for it and refuse to do it. The trucking company will be forced to take it somewhere like a maintannce facilty and pay to have it done. So please no more sad stories from the drivers.

  18. 18. Chris [ February 10, 2016 @ 05:50AM ]

    I have the perfect solution. Build pole structures at every scale house and keep a staff of politicians inside at all times during the winter. All of that hot air will completely clear all the roofs in question. The best part, we finally gain some value from our wasted tax dollars they are payed already.

  19. 19. Doc [ February 12, 2016 @ 08:40AM ]

    Like a trooper needs another reason to stop a truck. All the comments about driver safety are completely valid. It sounds like November through March is a good time to shut down the trucking industry. And Jim - from the warmth of your dispatch or manager's desk, the proper spelling is "paid", not payed. It's people like you who make driving a miserable job.

  20. 20. jim [ February 15, 2016 @ 09:09AM ]

    Hey Doc. I hope some day you are following a truck and a chunk of ice flies off the roof, goes through your windshield hitting you in you retarded head. Maybe you can use the ice to remove the swelling from your inflated head.
    I am a driver and I cuss people like you driving down the road with snow and ice on trailer roofs. What about the safety of the drivers that have to follow these fools hauling a ton of ice on trailer roofs? Apparantly you dont care about their safety. Doc did you get PAYED to write your story?

  21. 21. jim [ February 15, 2016 @ 09:17AM ]

    Hey Doc. I am a driver and I cuss people like you driving down the road with snow and ice on trailer roofs. What about the safety of the drivers that have to follow these fools hauling a ton of ice on trailer roofs? Apparantly you dont care about their safety. Doc did you get PAYED to write your story? If driving is such a miserable job why dont you find a differant job, Like maybe a spelling teacher?


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