Connecticut bill targets snow-covered vehicles

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Connecticut truckers and motorists who fail to clean snow off their vehicles could be fined between $200 and $1,000 under legislation discussed Wednesday, Feb. 20, before the legislative Transportation Committee, the Connecticut Post reported.

According to the newspaper, House Minority Leader Lawrence F. Cafero Jr., R-Norwalk, told the committee that he and other lawmakers have fielded complaints from constituents for years about door-sized sheets of ice and snow flying from trucks and sport utility vehicles, smashing autos, shattering windshields and injuring motorists.

Gov. M. Jodi Rell on Wednesday said she and committee leaders supported requiring truck drivers and other motorists to clean their vehicles after a snowstorm, the Post reported. Cafero told the committee that while Rell has proposed fining motorists in the event that snow and ice hits another car, he would like fines to be levied before an incident occurs, according to the newspaper.

“I actually say we have to stop it before it happens,” said Cafero, who discounted complaints from the trucking industry that snow cannot be cleaned from huge trailer trucks that drive back and forth across the country in all kinds of weather. “I think we as a Legislature have to weigh the public safety with the inconvenience and possible cost that it might be for commercial vehicles to outfit their cars and trucks and vehicles to prevent this from happening,” Cafero told the committee.

Cafero’s bill has one set of fines for driving with snow on a vehicle and enhanced penalties if the material falls off and hits other vehicles, according to the Post; he said he’d defer to what the transportation and judiciary chairmen draft.

Rep. Peter J. Panaroni Jr., D-Branford, a committee member who is a truck driver, said it’s time for the industry to take responsibility, the Post reported. “Trucks are not the only vehicles with snow left on top of their roofs,” said Panaroni, who suggested that truck stops be outfitted with structures that can brush accumulated snow and ice off trailers. “Something needs to be done,” he said.