Winter driving is dangerous, especially in a snowy state like New Jersey. Unfortunately, one of the preventable accident scenarios associated with snow is also one of the most common.
For whatever reason, many New Jersey drivers do not adequately remove the snow and ice from their vehicles before driving. At highway speeds, this winter debris can easily fly off and cause damage to other vehicles. In some cases, it even causes car and truck accidents.
To combat this problem, New Jersey legislators enacted tougher fines in 2010 for failing to remove snow and ice from your vehicle. Since that time, more than 3,600 drivers have faced fines and charges.
A recent court case shows just how dangerous snow and ice can be. In early 2011, a 53-year-old Sussex County woman sustained injuries and vehicle damage when her car was suddenly struck by ice and snow that flew off of a passing box truck. The truck was a business vehicle for a plumbing company.
The ice shattered the woman’s windshield and the flying glass caused many cuts to her face. She called 911, and police pulled over the offending driver a short time later.
He contested the fine in court and tried to discredit the police statements given by the accident victim. She had misidentified his truck as white (it was actually purple), and incorrectly read the company name on the side of the vehicle.
However, considering the circumstances, the description she gave was arguably very good. And the fact that a purple truck appeared white is probably a good indication of how badly it needed to be cleaned and cleared of snow.
Earlier this week, a judge upheld the $750 fine.
The threat of fines should be a good motivator for drivers to clear their vehicles, especially those who drive large trucks that can accumulate dangerous amounts of snow.
But some drivers still fail to do so, and accidents like this are often the consequence. When flying snow and ice causes a crash, injuries or even significant vehicle damage, victims have a number of legal options. They may wish to pursue compensation and hold these negligent drivers accountable through a personal injury lawsuit.