In Boston, snow is a serious problem for truckers in the winter months. Not only is there a risk of a crash caused by snow and ice on the roads but there is also the issue of snow and ice accumulating on top of the truck. This could fly off of the vehicle and hit pedestrians or hit other cars. In one recent case, for example, ice flying off a truck struck an SUV, broke the windshield, and resulted in the driver of the SUV sustaining injury.
Truck drivers need to make sure they are doing their part to prevent truck accidents in Massachusetts by clearing off the snow from their trucks before it flies off. Penske warns truck drivers need to be aware of differing legal options across different states which relate to the duty of clearing snow off of trucks. Some states already have rules in place, and others are considering passing rules and have legislation pending now. Long-haul truck drivers who go across state lines need to know what the requirements are for each location they are driving through so they do not find themselves surprised when they get into trouble if they have not made a reasonable effort to clear the snow.
More States Passing Laws on Snow and Ice Removal
Trucking Info reported on efforts underway in states to impose laws on truck drivers dealing with snow and ice removal. One pending piece of legislation, for example, would apply to truck drivers who come into the state with vehicles that have a gross vehicle weight rating of 48,000 pounds or greater.
Drivers of these vehicles would have an affirmative obligation to take reasonable steps to ensure snow and ice are removed. They could be pulled over by police and fined between $25 and $75 for failing to remove snow and ice, even if nothing happens and the accumulated snow or ice does not fall off the truck. If something did happen and snow or ice caused bodily injury or death, the trucker could be fined between $200 and $1,000 for failure to remove snow.
Trucking Info indicates many truckers are concerned about the increasing number of states passing or considering laws like this one. The problem is: what is reasonable? Sometimes, a delivery has to be made in a timely manner and truckers don't have a lot of time to spend trying to get snow and ice off the top of their trucks. This is a major problem because removal of snow and ice from the top of a truck can be a very difficult proposition. The tops of tractor trailers are made of fiberglass and cannot be walked in and great care must be taken to make sure they are not scratched. Snow removal machines are very expensive, so some drivers may have difficulty actually getting trucks clear. Still, they can be held accountable if they fail to make reasonable efforts and someone gets hurt or killed.