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Motorists Who Don’t Clear Snow and Ice Put Others at Risk

By January 21, 2014December 29th, 2021Personal Injury

Winter in Western New York means snow and ice accumulates on vehicles. Taking a few extra minutes to make sure a vehicle is completely clear of ice and snow makes for safer driving. According to the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles, an obstructed driver’s view accounted for 4,776 accidents in 2012. Currently, New York State does not have a law that specifically addresses ice and snow on vehicles. The current law addresses driving with an obstructed view. Section 375 of the New York State Traffic Laws states: “It shall be unlawful for any person to operate a motor vehicle with any object placed or hung in or upon the vehicle, except required or permitted equipment of the vehicle, in such a manner as to obstruct or interfere with the view of the operator through the windshield, or to prevent him from having a clear and full view of the road and condition of traffic behind such vehicle.”

The law may change, however, with the introduction of a bill in the New York State Senate. The proposed bill will attempt to amend the vehicle and traffic law, in relation to requiring surfaces of certain motor vehicles to be cleared of accumulated snow, sleet, or hail. The bill seeks to eliminate distractions or possible hazards caused by snow or ice blowing off of a vehicle and blinding other drivers. It also seeks to stop “peephole” driving, where motorists clear a small portion of their windshield and attempt to drive.

“Our firm has been handling personal injury cases for years. When drivers are careless and don’t clear off their vehicles, it creates problems for other drivers,” Jeffrey Freedman, Managing Attorney, stated. “Essentially, people who clear small spots on their windshields may be driving blind. And snow and ice can fly off the roof of a vehicle, putting those around you at risk. We have seen the damage negligent drivers cause to innocent people.”

The bill has been submitted to the Committee on Transportation in the New York Senate. “Preventing an accident of this nature is as simple as carrying a snow brush and ice scraper in your car, then making sure your vehicle is cleared off. The extra few minutes it takes is worth it in terms of preventing injury and possible loss of life,” Freedman said.