New York: Lawmaker Proposes Fine for Drivers who Don’t Clear Cars of Snow and Ice

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A proposed bill calls for motorists to clear snow off their cars before hitting the road or be at risk of a fine.

“We know darn well that it can fly up and blind us or break a window,” Richard Fortin, of Rome, N.Y., said. “When you see it fly into the air, you certainly hope it doesn’t hit you.”

Fortin sees snow and ice stuck on cars all the time. But he doesn’t have any sympathy for those who don’t take the time to clean it off.

“They can’t take two seconds to do that to make it safe for themselves and for other people?” he said.

While Fortin’s been lucky, others have not. A driver in Canada had his windshield shattered when snow flew off the top of a tractor-trailer.

A new bill has been proposed by New York State Sen. Tony Avella that would require people to make “reasonable efforts” to remove snow and ice from their vehicles before driving on a public road.

A violation would cost $75. A violation that results in injury or damage to another person’s property would cost drivers between $200 and $1,250.

David Abbott is the president of American Glass Company in Albany. He said leaving snow and ice on cars is a problem when it melts and freezes again.

“They don’t understand it freezes on the cars, and it’s going blow off and whack somebody,” he explained.

For Fortin, it comes down to respect, which he thinks may make a fine necessary.

“It would be appreciated, truthfully, because we do clear our cars, so it doesn’t happen,” he said. “If you just jump in your car and you take off and you’re blind, and you think the windshield wiper is just enough for you to see, well then, maybe something should be done.”

The bill is still in the early stages in the senate. Connecticut and New Jersey currently have similar laws in effect.

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