Bill requiring drivers to clear snow and ice from vehicles finally passes Pa. Legislature

Written by on July 7, 2022

Bill requiring drivers to clear snow and ice from vehicles finally passes Pa. Legislature

By Stephanie Sigafoos
July 7, 2022

Photo | Steven Senne / AP photo

When state Sen. Lisa Boscola stood to address her colleagues on Wednesday, she did so with one thing in mind.

“I knew this was the last time that I was going to rise for this bill,” Boscola said in a phone call Thursday morning after unanimous final approval to Senate Bill 1094.

The measure — which was years in the making — will require motorists to make “reasonable efforts” to remove accumulated snow and ice from a vehicle within 24 hours of the end of a winter storm. It will also let police pull over drivers with a dangerous build-up of wintry precipitation on their vehicles.

Named “Christine’s Law,” the bill is designed to prevent tragedies like the one that took the life of Christine Lambert of Palmer Township on Christmas Day 2005. She died on Route 209 in Nesquehoning, Carbon County, when a large piece of ice dislodged from a passing box truck and crashed through the windshield of her family’s sport utility vehicle.

Lambert’s husband Frank and their son Matthew were both in the car when the accident occurred. The truck continued on its way and the driver has never been identified.

“This means the world to me, not only because it passed unanimously here in the Senate after so long, but because it is so important to the Lambert family,” Boscola said. “Her husband and son have been advocating for this law ever since that tragic accident and we’re finally here.”

Should Gov. Tom Wolf sign the bill, it would strengthen the existing law, which only penalizes a driver when serious bodily harm occurs from a snow or ice projectile. Boscola says the updated law will be more proactive, giving police officers discretion to pull over a driver if the ice or snow on their vehicle poses a potential hazard.

“It was a long, hard fight,” Frank Lambert said Thursday afternoon. “I have to give all the credit to Senator Boscola and her office for not giving up on it.

“We want to help people so they don’t have to go through what we have gone through, and what we have suffered with the loss of Chris,” he added. “It’s a big hole … she was a beautiful woman. She couldn’t do enough for anybody and she was just the most outgoing person you could ever want to be involved with.”

The legislation stipulates that any driver who violates the law would be subject to a $50 fine for each offense, and a fine of $200 to $1,500 per offense if snow or ice dislodges and strikes another vehicle or pedestrian causing serious bodily injury or death.

“My next step will be to introduce a grant program going forward for scrapers to be installed in locations that are easily accessible to trucks and vehicles,” Boscola said.

“That’s got to be the next step because I can’t even imagine being in that car in that situation and that’s your mother and wife …  there was no way I was leaving office without this getting done. This law is a testament to the dedication that her family put forth to ensure these types of accidents never happen again.”

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