Update: PA Senate Bill 94 passed.
In Pennsylvania, truck drivers may soon have more responsibilities for the removal of snow and ice from atop their big rigs. Pennsylvania Senate Bill 94 would impose an affirmative responsibility on truckers with vehicles weighing 48,000 pounds or more. Truckers would have to take steps to remove accumulated snow and ice. If they failed to do so, police could pull them over and fine them between $25 and $75 per occurrence even if no snow or ice came to lose while driving. If snow or ice actually fell from a moving truck and hit another person or car and caused death or serious bodily injury, the driver would be fined between $200 and $1,000 for each offense.
Laws requiring the removal of snow and ice are necessary to prevent Pennsylvania truck accidents from occurring. Just recently, reports indicated the driver of an SUV was injured because ice fell off a truck and broke his windshield. Some states already have such laws in place, and others are considering passing them. Penske warns long-haul truck drivers to be aware of the variances in state laws as they cross the country to make their deliveries.
Truck Drivers Need to Prevent Truck Accidents by Removing Snow and Ice
Trucking Info indicates some truckers are objecting to the proposed Pennsylvania law on the removal of snow and ice. Truckers are concerned with the lack of clarity regarding a requirement that they take reasonable steps to try to remove snow and ice. Sometimes, snow and ice cannot be removed easily, which puts truckers in a bad position. The tops of tractor-trailers cannot be walked on because the tops of the vehicles are made of sensitive fiberglass. This also complicates the snow removal process because the top of the vehicle could be scratched or damaged.
There are special snow throwing devices, but they can cost many thousands of dollars and not all truckers can afford them. If truckers face fines and citations for an inability to remove the snow, they could find themselves having to delay deliveries and spend lots of money for snow removal. Penske indicates it can be advisable to wait until the sun has begun to melt some of the snow and until the sun has made snow and ice softer, but this is not always possible. Truck washes can also be used for snow removal, but this can be time-consuming.
While snow removal may be a hassle, it is essential for safety. If people get hurt because snow or ice falls off trucks, state laws imposing an affirmative responsibility to clear the vehicles could help the victims to get compensation for injuries and losses. The truck accident victims could point to the trucker’s failure to follow regulations and fulfill his duty to remove snow.