TRENTON – A little more than a year after it was enacted, the Ice and Snow Removal Law is being brought to the fore again by the New Jersey Division of Highway Traffic Safety as the calendar turns towards winter.
Enacted in October of 2010, the law requires motorists to “make all reasonable efforts” to remove accumulated ice or snow from all exposed surfaces of their motor vehicle before operation. 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.
“Dislodged ice and snow from a motor vehicle can act as a deadly projectile that can fly at a high rate of speed and cause significant damage to nearby automobiles,” Division of Highway Traffic Safety Acting Director Gary Poedubicky said. “Removing ice and snow from your vehicles, especially from the hood, windows and roof, only takes a few moments. Those few moments of precaution can mean the difference between safety and hazard.”
In the 13 months since the law was enacted, 3,200 citations have been issued to motorists that failed to adequately remove ice and snow from their vehicles. Bergen County was the clear enforcement leader, issuing more than 1,300 violations. Hudson (305), Essex (239), Union (210) and Passaic (194) counties trailed behind Bergen.
Fines for violating the law range from $25 to $75. If failure to remove ice and snow results in injury or property damage, motorists face fines ranging from $200 to $1,000, while commercial motor vehicle drivers face fines ranging from $500 to $1,500 for each offense.
To increase awareness of this law, the Division is rolling out a public service announcement and advertising campaign. The PSAs will debut on radio stations throughout the state today and run through the winter season. The spots have been produced and developed in partnership with the New Jersey Broadcasters Association (NJBA) and will be featured on the NJBA’s 41 commercial radio members on the state’s airwaves.
“The NJBA is proud to be working with the Division of Highway Traffic Safety on this important winter safety message,” NJBA President Paul Rotella said. “We are always eager to help keep our roads and citizens safe.”
A second wave of advertising is planned for later this month and will be featured on buses and in trains throughout the New Jersey Transit system.
Though the fall has thus far been mild, the Division is offering the following winter driving tips as winter and inclement weather approaches:
- Drive slowly (at or below the posted speed limit) and adjust your speed for the changing conditions.
- Turn on your headlights, using low beams when traveling in snow.
- Give snowplows plenty of room to work. Don’t tailgate and try not to pass. If you must pass, exercise extreme caution in doing so. Remember, a snow plow operator’s field of vision is restricted. You may see them, but they may not always see you.
- If you skid, don’t brake or accelerate. Remove your foot from the gas, and gently steer your car in the direction of the skid (the direction the rear of your vehicle is sliding). When your car starts heading in the desired direction, carefully straighten the wheel.
- Slow down before exiting the highway. Exit ramps often have icy patches, sharp curves and stalled or stopped vehicles.
- Have a personal safety kit easily accessible in your vehicle that includes: an ice scraper; shovel; jumper cables; blanket; sand, salt or kitty litter for traction; flashlight; water and non-perishable food. If your car becomes disabled, pull off the road as far as possible, turn on your emergency flashers and remain with your car until help arrives. If you can’t get your vehicle off the road and are uncertain about your safety, do not stay in your vehicle or stand behind it.
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