Note: The following op-ed is by State Sen. Lisa Boscola (D-18), whose district includes Hellertown borough and Lower Saucon Township.
Winter came early to the Lehigh Valley with the snowfall that hit us a few weeks ago. With the first hint of winter, I like to remind everyone that state law does require drivers to remove the accumulated snow and ice from their vehicles, especially from the top of the vehicle’s roof. Unfortunately, the only enforcement measure is should a driver fail to clear the snow and ice and that snow/ice missile comes off a vehicle’s roof, causing “significant injury or death.” I have long advocated for the need of legislation to allow enforcement PRIOR to such a tragic event occurring.
It is a matter of public safety and common sense. Many times, while driving on our roadways, we have all been the victim of falling snow and ice coming from other vehicles. This is not only extremely dangerous, but it can also lead to injuries and fatalities. Several years ago, a woman named Christine Lambert was tragically killed on Christmas Day when a slice of ice from a truck travelling in the opposite direction flew off its roof and crashed through her windshield.
When the Senate reconvenes in January, I will be reintroducing Christine’s Law, my common-sense legislation that would prevent further injuries or fatalities from happening. New Jersey and Connecticut along with other states have already taken the initiative of allowing law enforcement officers to stop and fine individuals for not removing snow and ice from the top of their vehicle. Pennsylvania should join them by enacting the same type of legislation.
Senate Bill 435 passed the Senate unanimously in April 2018, but was not taken up in the House prior to session concluding in November. It is my hope that the legislation will be acted upon in the Senate early in the next session in order to give the House more time for review and to take action.
My legislation is meant to be preventative and have all drivers act, so that no family should have to endure the tragic loss like that brought upon the Lambert family during the holiday season.