The Lead

Pa. Senate panel advances bill to beef up ban on snow-topped cars

By: - June 19, 2019 11:23 am

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A state Senate panel has advanced legislation beefing up an already-existing state law that allows police to fine drivers who don’t speedily clear snow and ice from the tops of their cars and trucks after heavy weather.

On Tuesday, the Senate Transportation Committee unanimously approved the bill sponsored by Sens. Lisa Boscola, D-Northampton, and Dan Laughlin, R-Erie, that gives drivers 24 hours to clean off their vehicles.

In a statement, Boscola’s office said the legislation, known as “Christine’s Law,” would “help prevent tragedies like the one that befell Christine Lambert of Palmer Township in 2005. She died when a large piece of ice dislodged from a passing truck and crashed through her windshield. “

Boscola said she’s been trying to “get this law on the books ever since that tragic accident 14 years ago. I am hopeful the full Senate will act on this legislation soon.”

Under current law, drivers are only penalized when “serious bodily harm occurs from a snow or ice projectile,” Boscola’s office said. The new bill “would be more proactive, giving police officers discretion to pull over a vehicle where the buildup of ice or snow poses a potential hazard.”

Specifically, the bill gives police probable cause to “stop any vehicle with snow on it,” a spokesman for the Pennsylvania State Police told the Capital-Star in February.

The Pennsylvania State Police indicated support for similar legislation in 2015, and a version of the bill introduced last session passed through the Senate Transportation Committee in 2018.

States such as New Jersey and Connecticut have already passed laws requiring motorists to clear the tops of their cars before getting on the road.

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John L. Micek
John L. Micek

A 3-decade veteran of the news business, John L. Micek is the Pennsylvania Capital-Star's Editor-in-Chief. An award-winning political reporter, Micek’s career has taken him from small town meetings and Chicago City Hall to Congress and the Pennsylvania Capitol. His weekly column on U.S. politics is syndicated to 800 newspapers nationwide by Cagle Syndicate. He also contributes commentary and analysis to broadcast outlets in the U.S., Canada and the U.K. Micek’s first novel, “Ordinary Angels,” was released in 2019 by Sunbury Press.

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