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Penalty for not removing snow and ice from your car

Penalty for not removing snow and ice from your car

Is it illegal to drive with snow on your car? Yes, it is – and that’s actually been the case since 2018. Think about the last time you saw someone driving with giant chunks of ice or snow on their windshield. Maybe they cleared an area large enough to see through, but having any snow or ice on your windshield is dangerous. Not only that, but you could be issued a ticket.

is it illegal to drive with snow on your car

If you were cited for not clearing your car of snow and ice, it doesn’t automatically mean that you’re guilty. Talk to a Long Island personal injury lawyer with Carner & DeVita to learn more about how we may be able to help you out of this situation. You can contact us online or call (631) 543-7070 to schedule your free consultation.

Continue reading to learn more about what’s expected of you this winter to help ensure your safety and the safety of others.

2018 snow and ice bill

For years, legislators tried to make driving with snow and ice on a vehicle illegal because it’s inherently unsafe. Those efforts finally paid off in December 2018, when section S. 1229-e was added to the New York Vehicle and Traffic Law; the law became effective in December 2019. 

It’s illegal to drive with snow or ice on your car because it’s extremely dangerous. The wind, combined with the speed of the car, can blow snow and ice off of a car, causing visibility problems when it falls, it can potentially make a traffic hazard in the roadway, and it could cause damage to another car.

What the law says

In New York, no one driving on a public highway or street can have more than three inches of sleet, hail, or snow on their vehicle. Prior to driving, you must clear the hood, roof, and trunk, and if driving a truck you must clear out the cargo bed, trailer, and any other compartments from which ice and snow could fall onto other vehicles. A violation of this law can result in a fine of $150 to $850 for each violation.

There are several instances where the law doesn’t apply, including:

  • The hail, sleet, or snow is still falling.
  • Clearing isn’t mandatory until three hours after the end of the frozen precipitation.
  •  If the vehicle isn’t being operated, clearing need not occur.
  • Public safety and emergency vehicles are exempt.

Avoid being fined

There’s a very easy way to not only avoid a potentially hefty fine but to also do your part in keeping yourself and other drivers safe. Leave a few minutes earlier than planned and clear all snow and ice from your car including from the hood, roof, windshields, back window, and every other surface.

If the snow is light and fluffy, a soft broom will suffice. In some instances, you might need an ice scraper which is available at most auto parts stores, big box stores, and many gas stations.

What to do if you’re fined

You may be able to fight a citation for not clearing snow or ice from your car. To increase your chances, take pictures or video of your car and ensure that it captures the date, time, and location either during the photo or video itself or that it’s stored in the metadata of the file.

The officer should note the time on the ticket, but there’s no guarantee they will. If the time is less than three hours after the precipitation was done, you might be able to successfully contest the citation. The same applies if the accumulation of snow, ice, sleet, or hail on your car was less than three inches. 

If you choose to pay the fine and don’t contest the ticket, the court will see this as admitting guilt and will close the case. This can be a significant amount of money, so you should speak with a Long Island personal injury lawyer before doing anything else.

Speak with an attorney today

The law firm of Carner & DeVita has helped clients since 1957. Our top priority has always been to care for the people we represent as if they were friends or family. We provide responsive service and will work tirelessly in our client’s best interests.

We can’t promise you that we’ll be able to have your citation dismissed – no reputable attorney would make that promise, but we guarantee that we’ll fight on your behalf if there’s evidence that you’ve been treated unfairly. 

Call (631) 543-7070 or use our online contact form to schedule a free evaluation of your case.

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