Did you know that New Jersey has a law on its books requiring you to make sure that snow and ice has been removed from your entire car before you hit the road? In fact, police have issued over 3,200 tickets since the law took effect in October 2010.
Most people assume that so long as their windows are clear, they are safe. However, this is not the case. Hard snow and ice accumulations routinely fly off while driving, creating dangerous conditions for other drivers whose cars are struck by the flying object itself, or who get spooked while trying to avoid these dangers.
The law states that each driver of a motor vehicle (including commercial trucks, cabs and trailers) in this State shall have an affirmative duty to make all reasonable efforts to remove accumulated ice or snow from exposed surfaces of the motor vehicle prior to operation. These surfaces include the hood, trunk, windshield, windows, and roof of the motor vehicle.
The law does NOT apply to any driver who is operating during a snow or ice storm that began and continued for the duration of the motor vehicle’s operation, or to any operator of a motor vehicle while it is parked.
Fines for violating the new law range from $25 to $75 if no injury or property damage occurs. If failure to remove ice and snow results in injury or property damage, motorists can face fines ranging from $200 to $1,000, while commercial motor vehicle drivers face fines ranging from $500 to $1,500, for each offense.
Perhaps the thought of having to spend the extra time in your pjs or work clothes, coupled with the non-point, relatively low fine, makes you say, “no thanks – I’ll just get the windows.”
But the thought of causing damage to someone else’ car, or worse yet, causing serious injury to others, will hopefully give you pause to remember and follow this law.