Drivers in Delaware, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania Impacted by Ice and Snow Falling From Large Trucks After Late-Season Winter Storm
On March 14, 2017, much of the northeastern and mid-Atlantic United States was hit with a last gasp of winter. While snowfall totals generally did not reach the loft foot or more predictions made in the days leading up to the storm, the nor’easter did deposit s wet, heavy slush punctuated by several sheets of ice. Even though overall snowfall totals were depressed by this “heavy” snow, many motorists discovered that this type of precipitation is particularly dangerous.
Aside from the propensity for vehicles to lose traction more easily in slick conditions, solid precipitation also poses a projectile risk when it is not cleared from the roof of a vehicle. Large trucks like 18-wheelers clearly have significantly larger flat surfaces where snow and ice can accumulate. When operators of these vehicles fail to clear snow and ice from the roof of their vehicle, the likelihood for a serious truck incident increases significantly.
Drivers Report Projectile Snow and Ice Being Launched from Commercial Trucks in Days Following Storm
A number of drivers in the Philadelphia area have reported troubling, dangerous incidents regarding large chunks of ice being launched from vehicles at highway speeds. When a car, truck, or commercial vehicle is traveling at greater than 50 miles per an hour, ice and packed snow can crash through a driver’s windshield and inflict serious damage. In some cases, the initial impact is responsible for the vast majority of injuries. In other cases, the driver will lose control of his or her vehicle due to the impact. In some cases, the driver may suffer injury due to both the initial impact and subsequent crash due to a loss of vehicle control.
In fact, this is the scenario reported by a local driver that was featured on 6ABC News. Andru Duranso told that station that as he was driving on I-95, just south of the I-95 and I-295 junction, a chunk of ice was launched from a tractor trailer and through the windshield of his SUV.
However, the situation could have been much worse. Duranso did not suffer any serious injuries due to the incident but he did report, “I had glass all over my lap during this whole thing that went down. Tried to get the license plate number, but at that point in time, I was more focused on going ahead and pulling over, just for safety precautions.” Duranso also reported to the station that the chunk of ice knocked off his passenger-side, rear-view mirror.
Duranso indicated that police told him that he was far from the only individual to report an incident where ice launched from a large truck caused damage or injury. 6ABC News states that it filmed a FedEx truck where, “had not been cleared of snow and ice, and it seemed to keep flying off almost every time it hit a bump in the road.” A spokesperson from PennDOT stated that “[Uncleared now and ice is] really a public safety issue. People just have to take the time before they get going, clear the snow and ice off their vehicle.”
Drivers in New Jersey and Pennsylvania Are Required to Clear Snow and Ice Before Driving
While there is no specific statute on the books requiring drivers in Delaware to clear snow and ice from their vehicle, if an accident or injury does occur then traditional concepts of negligence can be applied. However, in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, specific laws exist requiring the removal of snow and ice.
In Pennsylvania, Motor Vehicle Code Title 75, Section 3720 states that when snow or ice falls from a moving vehicle and strikes another vehicle or person resulting in serious bodily injury, then a penalty of $200 to $1,000 can be imposed. In addition, the individual may be liable for the damages caused in the accident.
In New Jersey, Title 39:4-77.1 states that when snow or ice is dislodged from a moving vehicle and strikes another vehicle or pedestrian causing injury or property damage, a fine of $200 to $1,000 can be imposed. Furthermore, drivers can be ticketed for a failure to clear “dangerous accumulations” of snow and ice.
Injured by Falling Snow and Ice From a Truck?
While the winter season is thankfully winding down, drivers may still be coping with the injuries and difficulties caused by projectile snow and ice launched from a commercial truck. If you have bee seriously injured in an accident of this type, the lawyers of Reiff & Bily’s The Truck Accident Team may be able to fight for you. Call 800-896-6173 today to discuss your concerns confidentially.