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Mandated Snow and Ice Removal Prevents Motor Vehicle Accidents in Pennsylvania

Winter storms and inclement weather in Pennsylvania can lead to serious motor vehicle collisions. Not only are the roads heavy with snow and ice, but also drivers do not always exercise caution and adjust their speed accordingly.  After a storm, roads remain snowy, and as temperatures drop, the roads may freeze over. In the morning, drivers often find themselves operating vehicles on a sheet of ice.

Pennsylvania law requires drivers to remove all snow and ice from their vehicles before operating their vehicles on public roads. The law is aimed at preventing injuries from airborne snow and ice on Pennsylvania roadways. Pennsylvania Vehicle Code, section 3720 states that when snow or ice dislodges or falls from a moving vehicle, striking another vehicle or person and injuring them, the operator of the vehicle can be fined neither less than $200 nor more than $1,000 for each offense.

The “snow/ice removal law” seeks to address one of the many dangers posed by snow and ice to drivers and others on the road. When vehicles covered with snow and ice are traveling at high speeds, and this snow or ice dislodges from their car, it can strike other cars. This leads to visibility issues as well as a loss of vehicle control. While it can be difficult for some drivers to remove snow on top of their vehicles, such as big rigs, it is important to understand the impact of this law on protecting people on the road.

Drivers who fail to abide by the law are subject to fines, and they can also be found legally at fault in civil lawsuits.  An injured driver or passenger may file a Pennsylvania car or truck accident legal claim against a driver for their negligence, if it directly caused their injuries. The injured victim would serve as the plaintiff and be required to demonstrate that the defendant driver owed them a duty of care, the driver breached this duty, and this breach directly led to an accident and the resulting injuries. The costs that result from a personal injury lawsuit can be much more severe than the fines imposed by Vehicle Code section 3720.

For example, if a driver notices the accumulated snow on her vehicle but decides not to clear it off before getting on the Pennsylvania Turnpike, she may be engaging in careless or reckless behavior. If she accelerates to the speed limit, and the snow and ice on top of her vehicle fly off and land on the windshield of a car traveling behind her, they may have such a sudden and strong impact that the driver loses control of his vehicle. If this driver then crashes and suffers injuries, the initial driver may be found negligent. By noticing the snow on her vehicle but failing to remove it before driving, she caused a serious car accident. She may be liable for the injured driver’s property damage and injuries.

To avoid the dangers associated with snow or ice falling and hitting your vehicle, leave a large following distance between your vehicle and the lead vehicle. If you are driving behind a large truck or commercial vehicle, leave additional space. Reduce speed on highways and roads, and if possible, remain sheltered in place during heavy snow.

At Needle Law Firm, we help victims of motor vehicle collisions as they pursue civil claims for damages from the at-fault parties. Our Pennsylvania auto accident attorneys can seek compensation for your injuries, and we can provide guidance on your legal rights and obligations. For a complimentary consultation with a skilled attorney, call our office at 570-344-1266.

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