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What is the Law on Clearing Snow from Your Car in Pennsylvania?

March 31, 2020

By van der Veen, Hartshorn, Levin & Lindheim

Pennsylvania is known for getting hit with some pretty hard snowstorms in the winter. As temperatures drop, snow and ice start to accumulate on the roads and on vehicles, and that can pose a real hazard for motorists. It is for this reason that the state has enacted laws on clearing snow and ice from you vehicle before hitting the streets. The law is named ‘Christine’s Law,’ after a woman that died after the vehicle she was driving was struck by a large sheet of ice that had fallen off of a garbage truck in front of her.

The Law on Clearing Snow and Ice from a Vehicle

Under Pennsylvania statute Title 75, Section 4524, it is against the law to drive with any type of obstructed view. The fine for doing this has recently been increased to $2,000 per offense.

Pennsylvania statute Title 75, Section 3720 also states that drivers can be held liable if snow or ice falls off of their moving vehicle and strikes another vehicle or pedestrian, causing death or serious injury. If a driver is found guilty of violating the offense, they face a fine between $200 and $1,000 per offense.

This law may sound fairly straightforward, but it can become complicated. For example, the statute does not specifically state which parts of a vehicle must be cleared of ice and snow. This is unlike New Jersey’s statute, which has just been amended to include that ice and snow must be cleared from the entire vehicle, including the roof. The law in Pennsylvania only states that the driver must have a clear view, indicating that only windows must be cleared of ice and snow.

However, the law also makes it clear that drivers can be held liable if uncleared ice and snow flew off of their car and hit another person or vehicle. Not only could drivers be held liable under the law, anyone hurt by the uncleared snow could also hold drivers liable in a personal injury claim. While the very presence of ice or snow is not enough to constitute a violation, drivers take liability risks when they leave them on any part of their vehicle.

Injuries Resulting from Uncleared Snow and Ice

Pennsylvania’s law on cleaning snow and ice from vehicles is there for a reason. When drivers fail to clear these from their cars, the snow and ice can move while the vehicle is in motion. As they fall, they can drop onto the windshield and windows, obstructing the driver’s view, which could cause an accident.

Additionally, snow and ice can cause real injury and in the most tragic cases, even death. Snow and ice are both very heavy and can cause a great deal of damage. As seen in the case of Christine Lambert, it can break the windshields of other vehicles, and injure or kill the people inside another car.

Hurt by Uncleared Snow? Call Our Pennsylvania Car Accident Lawyers

Snow and ice can cause major damage, which is why it is the law in Pennsylvania that all motorists must clear their vehicles before driving. If you have been hurt by a driver that failed to do this, call our Philadelphia car accident lawyers at van der Veen, Hartshorn, Levin & Lindheim. We know how to hold drivers and their insurance company accountable when you have been seriously injured, and we can help you claim the fair compensation you deserve. Call us today at (215) 486-0123 to schedule your free consultation.


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