Icy and snow-covered roads and poor visibility are not the only hazards facing drivers in the winter. Snow or ice launched from another vehicle, known as ice missiles, can also lead to car accidents and serious injuries.
Safety officials urge motorists to clear snow and ice off the roofs, rear windshields and trunks of their vehicles. Otherwise, this can dislodge, fly off and slam into other vehicles. This risk may be even greater when ice missiles are launched from the top of large trucks. In addition to cracked windshields and frightened and distracted drivers, ice missiles have caused serious injuries.
Current Pennsylvania law does not require that motorists remove accumulated show or ice from their vehicles. It only penalizes drivers if snow or ice strikes another person or vehicle and causes death or serious injury.
A recent bill addressing this danger passed the state Senate last October with bipartisan support. A house committee is now considering the proposal.
If passed, the bill would impose fines of $25.00 to $75.00 if drivers do not clear snow and ice from their vehicles even if it is never dislodged on the road. Significantly, police may also stop a vehicle on a street or highway if they believe that accumulated snow or ice may threaten other people or property.
The trucking industry has opposed similar measures in the past and claimed these requirements would place truck drivers in danger because they would have to climb 13½ feet to remove ice and snow from their rigs. But larger trucking companies utilize devices that trucks drive through which pushes off accumulated snow and ice.
One organization does not oppose the current proposal because there are safeguards that protect truck drivers. These include an exemption from compliance if removal of snow and ice would threaten truck driver health or safety or violate safety regulations.
Victims of these missiles and accidents may be entitled to compensation. An attorney can help them investigate these crashes and pursue their rights in court.