(WHTM) — As the Midstate, and much of the country, is anticipating a major snowstorm, it’s important to remember how to be safe on the road.
Under Title 75, anyone who has snow or ice fall off their vehicle and strikes another vehicle or pedestrian and causes serious injury or death will be issued a fine of $200 to $1,000.
It is also required by law to activate headlights any time windshield wipers are in use.
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During PennDOT’s Winter Driving Awareness Week, officials stressed the importance of preparing for these storms if you absolutely need to drive during a winter storm.
“Road conditions can change rapidly during a winter storm, so our best advice is to postpone travel in those situations,” Damon Wagner, Assistant District Executive for Maintenance said. “If you’re an essential worker who doesn’t have that option or you must travel for other reasons, make sure your vehicle is up to the task by taking it to a trusted mechanic for winterization and plan to give yourself a little extra time to get to your destination.”
Josh Woods, Community Traffic Safety Project Coordinator with the Highway Safety Network, also encourages getting vehicle’s breaks, battery, hoses, belts, heater and defroster checked. He also says to pack an emergency travel kit with a flashlight, batteries, jumper cables, first aid, bottled water and non-perishable food.
It is also recommended to stay at least six car lengths behind operating plow trucks, stay alert, move as far away from the centerline as safely possible and never travel next to a plow truck.
For more information on winter safety, visit PennDOT’s website.
But there’s a more serious law that’s been in the pipeline in the Pa. Senate for years.
In 2019, the Pa. Senate unanimously approved Bill 114 to update Title 75 to give police officers the discretion to pull over a vehicle if ice or snow buildup could pose a hazard to other vehicles on the road. Police and other transportation officials recommend anyone who needs to drive to make their best effort to clean snow or ice off of the hood, trunk and roof of their car within 24 hours.
Bill 114 would also increase the maximum fine to $1,500.
Unfortunately, it did not make it through the house in 2019. It was approved unanimously by the Senate Transportation Committee in March 2021 but the last action was it being laid on the table in September 2021 by the house.
The bill was introduced by Sen. Lisa Boscola (D-Lehigh and Northampton) as Christine’s Law to honor Christine Lambert. Lambert was killed in 2005 when an ice missile from the top of a box truck struck her car. Sen. Boscola introduced this as a preventative measure to make sure a tragedy of this kind never happens again.
Other states with these kinds of laws include New Jersey, Connecticut, Alaska, Georgia, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Tennessee and Wisconsin.