Laws aim to prevent injuries from accumulated ice on trucks

Ice that accumulates on commercial vehicles such as trucks can prevent a dangerous hazard to other motorists on the road. In fact, last year, an Illinois man suffered severe facial injuries when ice blew off of a passing truck and crashed into his windshield, shattering it into pieces. A similar situation occurred in Massachusetts earlier this year.

Incidents like these are what prompted the legislature in Suffolk County, New York to enact a new law designed to protect innocent motorists. The law requires that operators of commercial vehicles remove accumulated snow and ice before traveling on public roadways. As explained in this Huntington Patch article, the law does not apply to snow and ice that accumulates while the vehicle is being operated and the penalties for failure to comply with the law increase if an injury occurs due to failure to comply:

The law exempts drivers already on the road during a storm when ice accumulation occurs on vehicles and does not apply to parked vehicles, school buses, public transit buses and paratransit vehicles…

Failure to comply to the new law will result in a $150 fine. If personal injury or property damage results from the failure to properly clear vehicles, fines between $500 and $1,500 may apply. The legislation prevents commercial vehicle owners from passing fines to workers.

Although the Suffolk County law is the first of this kind in New York state, Suffolk County, New York is not the only jurisdiction concerned with this problem. Many other states have also passed similar laws, including New Jersey, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut and the District of Columbia.

Hopefully more states will follow this example. As the cases above show, ice and snow build up on large commercial vehicles, like trucks, creates a dangerous hazard for unsuspecting motorists that share the road with these vehicles. Requiring the drivers to take the simple step of clearing off their vehicles is a simple step toward preventing traffic accidents and making the roads safer for everyone.

Howard Ankin of Ankin Law Office LLC (www.ankinlaw.com) handles workers’ compensation and personal injury cases. Mr. Ankin can be reached at (312) 600-0000 and howard@ankinlaw.com.