TRENTON – It may seem early to think about snowstorms, but highway safety and law enforcement officials are reminding New Jersey motorists that a new law goes into effect today requiring that all ice and snow be removed from a vehicle before traveling on New Jersey’s roadways. Failure to do so can result in a citation and fine.
Division of Highway Traffic Safety Director Pam Fischer explained that prior to the change motorists could only be cited if property damage or injuries occurred as a result of failing to remove ice and snow from their vehicles. Drivers will now be required to make all reasonable efforts to remove accumulated snow and ice from all exposed surfaces prior to operation of the vehicle, she explained.
“Snow and ice left on a vehicle, in particular on the hood, windows and roof, can become a deadly projectile, creating a hazard for everyone on the road,” Fischer said. “The few moments it takes to clear ice and snow from your vehicle could prevent a crash or save a life.”
“Ice and snow are great in their proper place, but that place is not on your vehicle if you’re venturing out on New Jersey’s roadways,” said Colonel Rick Fuentes, Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police. “For years we’ve seen evidence of the dangers of snow and ice on vehicles. Now, the law prohibits what common sense should have already dictated. And troopers will be enforcing that law this winter,” he added.
Fines for violating the new law range from $25 to $75. No motor vehicle points will be assessed for this offense. If failure to remove ice and snow results in injury or property damage, motorists face fines ranging from $200 to $1000, while commercial motor vehicle drivers face fines ranging from $500 to $1,500, for each offense.
Fischer added that, “although the weather remains mild, it won’t be long before winter arrives. In past years, parts of New Jersey have experienced snow fall in late October. By getting a head start on preparing your vehicle for winter’s worst, you can ensure your driving safety throughout the winter season.”
In anticipation of the inclement weather, motorists are encouraged to:
- Tune up and winterize their vehicles, as well as check the radiator, battery, antifreeze, and all other fluid levels.
- Check tire treads and replace them if they’re unsafe.
- Check and replace windshield wiper blades if the rubber is cracked and/or brittle, and be sure to check and refill the washer fluid reservoir.
- Maintain at least a half a tank of gas during the winter to prevent the fuel line from freezing.
Motorists should also start assembling their winter driving “safety kit” before the onset of inclement weather. The kit should include: an ice scraper/brush; shovel; jumper cables or battery starter; warm blanket; sand, salt or cat litter (for traction in ice and snow); de-icer; safety flares/warning devices; flashlight and new batteries; extra windshield washer fluid; cell phone with a charged spare battery; water and non-perishable food (i.e. granola or protein bars); and, paper towels or a cloth.
For further information on winter driving, as well as a variety of traffic safety issues, visit the Division of Highway Traffic Safety’s web site, at www.njsaferoads.com
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