Bill aims at fining truck drivers who don’t remove snow and ice from trucks

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Truck drivers in Pennsylvania soon may be required to remove snow and ice from their trucks before getting behind the wheel. A state lawmaker is pushing a bill that would allow a police officer to determine if snow or ice poses a threat. And if it does, you'll have to pay up.

Truck drivers tell us it's a big inconvenience to clean snow and ice off, but they know it's all about safety. And because of that, they're all for it.

Joe Mitchell has been driving trucks for 22 years. His company requires drivers to clear off their trucks.

"It's not an easy job. Especially if you've got a fleet of trucks and you've got to get the snow off all of them. I mean, it's pretty hard," said Mitchell.

He has mixed feelings about the legislature deciding whether to fine drivers who don't clear off their trucks. But, he wants to keep other drivers safe, too.

"I mean, if you've got caked on snow up there it can come down and cause some damage but sometimes we get a dusting and it's still required to get that snow off there," said Mitchell.

State senator, Lisa Boscola, has reintroduced legislation that would require the removal of snow and ice from tractor trailers before driving. If passed, a police officer would determine if the ice or snow poses a threat to people or property. Fines could range from $25 to $75.

"While public awareness is key, we must underscore the seriousness of this issue with the force of law," said Boscola.

Current law only penalizes drivers if ice debris cause serious injury or death. Boscola drafted this legislation because of the death of a Northampton County woman. She was killed by piece of flying ice while driving to visit her family on Christmas day in 2005.

"Right through the air, smashed through the windshield, and killed her instantly. The truck driver never stopped, likely he didn't even know what happened," said Boscola.

People who have experienced those dangerous moments behind trucks say Boscola's bill is a good idea.

"I think it's a dangerous situation when you're on a highway like 81 and a truck has snow on the top and it hits the windshield. It's happened to me once or twice," said Kevin Keating.

6 comments

  • matthew

    This bill is a great idea. Although i think the fines are too small considering the minimal cost to replace a windshield, grill, or repair other vehicle damage. Also any violations should become a part of a drivers record. With that said, drivers who refuse to take a trailer out because is hasn’t been cleared should be protected from penalization from the truck owners.

    Great job Lisa Boscola!

    • Markus Grant

      Drivers incur all fines of there own accord. Apparently you have little to no understanding of this industry. Most of these men and women out here earn less than 40k a year. And ALL violations do go on a drivers record. My question to you is now that someone is making more rules, how do you propose to have a driver climb on top of a trailer that is 13′ 6″ in the air and shovel a roof that is not capable of nor is reinforced enough to hold the weight of someone. My best advice to you is pay attention and give ALL commercial vehicles their proper space. Remember, without us you would have no gas in your car, no clothes on your body and no food in your refrigerator. In fact, I challenge you to engage one of us in conversation and educate yourself Hun. After all , most of the time it’s all that we can do to keep safety first.

      • Timberly Pike

        I’ve worked in the trucking industry for almost 15 yrs and I can assure you that drivers are making more than $40,000. For someone that supposedly knows the business, you’re quite uniformed as to how the trailers are cleaned off. No one climbs on top of the trailer to shovel, truck stops and a lot of warehouses provide a piece of equipment that goes across the top of the trailer and scrapes off the snow and ice. Last but not least, the people that don’t give “proper space” between themselves and the trailers, happen to be in the SAFEST spot. When the sheet of ice flies off, it goes up and over. The 2 to 5 cars behind the trucks are the most at risk. I had a sheet fly off of a truck going East bound of a divided hwy, come off and hit my windshield while I was driving West bound. It almost came completely through the windshield which would’ve caused serious injury and possibly even death. It was a miracle in itself that I didn’t have a wreck. No way to catch the driver accountable and the damage bent the frame above my windshield so my car had to go to the shop for a week and *I* had to pay the deductible. If you’re making less than $40,000 a yr and you’re under the impression that you have to crawl on top of a trailer to shovel it off, you’re obviously not that much of an experienced driver and/or are working for a fly by night operation, hun.

  • Tim Whaley

    Who’s going to pay for all the truck stop to have a location for the driver to clean the trailer off? Will OSHA come in to inspect the harness the driver must wear to on top of the trailer? A lot of questions need to ask and answered I think?

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