Bill Would Require Drivers To Clear Snow From Vehicles

BOSTON (CBS) – If you have gotten sprayed by the ice and snow from an uncleared car or truck after one of this season’s storms, you may be interested in a proposal from a Beacon Hill lawmaker.

Rep. Cleon Turner of Dennis wants to fine drivers up to $500 for not cleaning all the snow off their vehicle before hitting the road.

“You will see snow and ice chunks flying off of vehicles, and especially larger trucks, that sometimes crash to the road and sometimes land on other vehicles,” Turner told WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Lana Jones. “They have in the past caused some serious motor vehicle damage to other vehicles, and injuries.”

WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Lana Jones reports

“We actually had in committee hearings in the last legislative session people who came in and testified who were physically injured in accidents where big chunks of ice came off from commercial vehicles, came through the windshield and seriously injured people, including in one case shearing somebody’s ear right off.”

The language of the bill calls for:

“…ALL motor vehicles with a roof area larger than 10 square feet shall not be operated on public roads if an accumulation of snow or ice on the roof of the vehicle exceeds ¼ inch thick. The responsibility to remove the excess snow/ice is bestowed upon the operator of the vehicle, and a fine of $100 would be instated for each offense that does not inflict personal injury or property damage, and a $500 fine for offenses resulting in personal injuries or property damage.”

It’s the fourth time in four terms that Turner has submitted his bill. He is hoping it gets some traction this time.

More from Lana Jones
  • Diane

    Great! I can’t tell you how many times my car has been hit by “flying” snow and ice on the highway…..

  • Captain Al

    Cleon, take your bill and stick it where the snow doesn’t reach. Enough of the nanny state.

  • Eric

    Here is a perfect solution. STOP TAILGATING! Drive a safe distance away, and this wont be an issue.

    • Pat

      Tailgating didn’t apply in my situation. I was in a lane with no one in front of me.

      Last winter an SUV in the left lane passed by me on Rte 128 and
      the load of ice and snow came off its roof racks in one big sheet
      and spun through the air like a big wing. It floated over to my lane
      and I was in the wrong place at the wrong time. It missed my windshield
      but put a basketball-size dent in my hood. I brought it to 3 different
      body shops and all say it can’t be fixed and must be replaced. It’s between $800 and $900 and I will have to pay $500 deductible because I didn’t get the plate. I still haven’t got it replaced… yet maybe after this winter is over.

      • Heather

        I have to agree with Pat 100% . I was driving well behind a semi in very bad weather. He was in the driving lane and I was in the passing lane when a huge 12×12 chunk of ice came off his truck and smashed out my windshield while I was driving. I had my children in my car with me and we were very lucky I manged to keep it together and pull off the interstate. I contacted the company and no one would ever call me back!! Same here..$500 deductible.

    • Heather

      Oh..if I were to have been tailgating, the ice off the top of the semi that smashed out my windshield probably would have hit the top of my car ..I was far enough back ,the wind caught the chunk and it was like slow motion… right smack into the center of my windshield. So this obviously hasn’t happened to you. Also, I’m a Wyoming girl, now living in South Dakota, where the weather is horrible all the time…I know how to drive in the winter around semis. The driver of the truck was at fault.

  • Donna

    I think that people who don’t clear the snow off their cars are lazy and inconsiderate of others. It’s a true danger and no one has the right to put other people at risk like that. Something should definitely be done about it….if it takes fining people then I am ok with that….unfortunately…some people need “nannying” in order to protect those around them.

  • KB

    I think this is a great idea. Tailgating or not, on the highways, that snow flies, and it doesnt matter how far away you are, you can be hit.
    Also, all the trucks with the blowing snow… makes it hard to see if you get stuck behind it.
    Buy a snow broom, like the dealerships have. They cost maybe $10.. and you can brush the snow off the entire car. It’s consideration.

    • Cynic

      Why give the Dealer another ten bucks….Don’t you have a push broom at home?

      • Anti-Cynic

        KB didnt say have the dealer do it, he/she said get a broom like the dealers have. Clean the snow off your computer screen and read it again.

      • KB

        thank you Anti-Cynic.
        I have a push broom at home and the orange foam one for my car.
        I always clean off my vehicle.. whether I’m in my little car, or my SUV. I dont need snow falling onto my windshield, and unlike others, I actually feel bad if I see snow flying off in my rearview mirror.

  • Michelle

    Tailgating had NOTHING to do with people being hit by chunks of ice and snow. When you are traveling at higher speeds, such as a highway, cars are being hit with snow debris 2-3 cars back. Not to mention that if people still have mounds of snow on their roofs, it can slide down over their windshield if they stop or slow down, causing another dangerous situation. I HOPE this bill is passed! Hopefully this will teach the lazy, inconsiderate people to clean off their cars!!!!!

  • Ed Hall

    I don’t think $500 is enough… it should be at least $10,000 for the first offense, life in prison for the second. If we’re going to crack down on these evil people we certainly should get serious about it.

  • Coachjim

    Problem is I drive a conversion van. How do you propose I get on top of my van to clear all the snow and ice. I take a broom and knock of what I can reach, but lets be realistic. Not all of us live in the happy state of cape cod where every house comes with a garage, and every vehicle is eco-efficient and four foot high.

    I understand the concern, but enough of the freakin government telling me what is acceptable and what is not. How about rather than submitting more useless bills; you figure out how to fund the cities and towns so they can clear the sidewalks and properly plow the streets. Go submitt a bill that stops companies like that solar place on the north shore from taking the government funds, then running to China or Mexico. Economic improvement loans are great, but they should come with penalties that make in counter-productive for the companies to bail.

    Next he’ll be submitting a bill requireing that all cars must be washed with 24 hours of the snow stopping.

  • Eric

    Inconsiderate? Tell that to a 65 year old woman who is 5’1″ who drives an SUV or other vehicle that is taller than 6 feet.

    “and it doesnt matter how far away you are, you can be hit.”
    Are you serious? I see ice and snow sometimes flying off 18 wheelers, and I’ve never been hit or affected by it one bit. I simply dont drive near them in those conditions.

    • Steve

      Give me a break. It doesn’t matter how tall you are. How do you explain all of the Honda Civics/Toyota Camrys with a foot of snow on top. It’s just plain lazy, simple as that!

  • Michelle

    Well just because some people haven’t been hit by snow or ice doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen, right? My thought is that if this wasn’t a big deal then people wouldn’t be so passionate about it. Just saying…

    • Cynic

      People will be PASIONATE about something else next week…People just need something to be PASSIONATE about.Why don’t we pass a LAW against PASSIONATE People?

  • Tanya

    How nice that the illustrative photo is of nice fluffy snow on a nice short vehicle as opposed to what most of us without garages woke up to yesterday morning – 6 inches of rock solid snow packed down by sleet/rain/whathaveyou. Do you know how long you’d have to run the heat in your vehicle to get that to melt? I bet someone would then want to make running your vehicle for that long illegal too.

    • Cynic

      Tanya…It already is….5 Minutes is the limit.

    • hatelazypeople

      I don’t have a garage and I managed to get the snow/ice off my car AND get to work on time. Quit whining

  • Cynic

    Just what we need ANOTHER freakin’ LAW !!!!!! How about a LAW against passing more LAWS?

  • Bubaloo

    I am handicapped with spinal stenosis. I drive an SUV with a roofrack. I do my best to clear my hood and windows with great pain. I can not possibly do the roof.

  • Emmit

    Snow is added weight, look at all the roofs collapsing across the region. That added weight raises the center of gravity making the vehicle top heavy which changes the handling characteristics of the vehicle and also increases the risk of a roll over. Apply your brakes hard while in traffic on 128 or come to a sudden stop and all that snow comes cascading off your roof and covers your windshield, now you can’t see anything and you have become a danger to yourself and everyone behind you. I’m not saying the proposed law is perfect, but it’s a starting point.

  • Mark

    Go for it. I see people driving with nothing but a little circle cleared on their windshileds. These are same jerks that can’t walk 10 feet to return a carriage in a parking lot and leave it in the middle of a parking space, empty their coffee mugs, trash, & wharever other debris they want to dump either in a parking space or in a carriage. What pigs Americans are!

  • enough laws

    I understand the comments about lazy people not clearing off their sedans but I am also 5′ and drive an SUV (a necessity with my long dirt driveway). There is no possible way I am able to reach the roof to clear it. I also live on the line in CT and venture on MA streets, should I pull over into someone’s driveway and ask to borrow a stepladder??

    • SMD

      How about keeping a stepladder in your SUV? In general, if you can’t prep your vehicle for safe operation, then don’t drive it. The law is long overdue.

    • hatelazypeople

      Really? you need a big SUV just to navigate your driveway? That’s the most absurd comment I have ever heard. People like you are just plain lazy. Try using a broom to clear off your roof.

      • Annoyed

        I too am short, drive an SUV with a roof rack…but I get the snow off, even if it means opening one of the the doors and standing partially in my car to clear it. No matter what the car, it is your responsibility to clear it.. Period.

  • KF4766

    I don’t care how tall your vehicle is or how short you are, YOUR vehicle is YOUR responsibility. If you have difficulty, I’m sure you could find a neighborhood teenager who wouldn’t mind a few bucks for doing the task!

  • watch my tail lights

    I dont care how old you are, how short you are, how tall your car is, or if you have a garage or not. You should have taken that all into consideration when you bought your car. It is your responsibility to remove the snow and ice. Anything less is pure laziness and deserves a fine. The government needs to get involved in public safety issues.

    Even if the bill doesnt pass, the rest of us can do what I already do. Don’t let snow covered cars into traffic, box them into the slow lane, slow down when they are behind me. Fun stuff like that.


    • KF4766

      While we seem to agree on the responsibilities of car owners, I don’t think creating a road rage situation is going to make this dangerous situation any safer.

      • watch my tail lights

        It’s hardly road rage. I’m purposely keeping them from getting in front of me to protect my own safety. The ice can’t fly off their vehicle onto mine if they are behind me.

    • KF4766

      Sorry, I wasn’t saying you were guilty of road rage, but if your not letting a driver into traffic or slowing down while in front of them, that driver, who clearly doesn’t give a darn about anyone else, may react by driving more aggressively

  • ou812

    Eric if you’ve driven enough you can have snow/ice from a vehicle in ANOTHER lane hit cars. NOT all about taigating. Think outside the box!

  • Dawn

    I think people not turning their lights on when it is snowing out is more of a danger than flying snow and ice. This last storm I can not tell you how hard it was to see some vehicles because they didn’t turn on their lights.

    • Cynic

      On the newer cars the lights are on all the time so soon enough this won’t be a problem. My rule has always been…If my wipers are on, my lights are on.

  • response

    It really doesn’t take an advanced degree to figure out how to get the snow off your roof of a conversion van, suv, school buses, ….come on people. I’m sick of people complaining, “I can’t do it”….
    It is VERY dangerous to other drivers on the road. Clear the snow from your roof of your vehicle. clear what you can reach on your vehicle. Start down your driveway, hit the brakes…put it in reverse, hit the brakes..get back out and clear again. Get a outdoor broom….crank up the leaf blower….
    I don’t care if you are 5 feet tall and drive a SUV…get the snow off the roof. How would feel if you killed another driver?

  • GJH

    I tought this was already a law beacause I can remember reading this in the old style learners permit book they used to give out at the registry prior to taking the test, it went something like “It is unlawful to operate a motor vehicle until any and all snow has been removed that can be removed from said vihicle under penalty of a fine” but if it’s not it should be. Driving in and out of Boston I can’t tell you how many cars don’t even bother to clear thier windows never mind the rest of the car.

  • Michele

    This would be a great law. I always clean the snow off my car, no matter what (I am short, and I manage to clear off the roof). I can’t believe it when I see lazy, inconsiderate people driving around with two feet of snow on their car and a little hole on their windshied to see out. They should be fined. Quit making up excuses. How would you people who oppose this proposed law feel if some lazy person killed a loved one of yours?

  • Sully

    How are you going to enforce it?

  • emom

    Ok yeah another law that well wont even get enforced,, Lets see , How about trying to patrol for drunks,, nope to busy trying to catch texting, to busy trying to catch those unbuckled, Oh wait how about those using a cell phone, NAHHHHH ..
    This is not as dangerous as other stuff.. Lets see, what you say about the following dangers:
    Yard debris, tree branches, leaves, loose objects in a truck or trailer, Bags of cement, bricks and cynder blocks, lumber, sheets of plywood, sheet rock, sheet metal, pipes, rods, Cigarettes flicked out the window, someone smoking , drinking coffee and talking on a cell phone all at the same time.. Talk about distractions, so this is just some of the stuff I see at any given time from vehicles on the road, snow on a vehicle is not as bad as some of these, Ice however will always be a problem from the top of a large truck that is, most snow from a regular vehicle will smash on the ground and usually when the nitwit stops. However ice and snow from an overpass that’s more of a concern.

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