PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Several states, including Pennsylvania and New Jersey, make it illegal for drivers to hit the roads without fully clearing their cars of snow and ice.
Drivers in both states face up to a $1,000 fine if flying ice or snow causes property damage or injury to others.
In New Jersey, drivers caught on the roads without clearing their cars can be fined up to $75.
Patrol officers with the Cherry Hill Police Department had their eyes peeled for those drivers who didn’t brush off their cars.
“The snow could fly off and hit your windshield and potentially crack your windshield, causing you to get in a MVA,” said Officer Renee Houlihan.
New Jersey law makes it illegal to drive any vehicle without first removing snow and ice from all exposed surfaces. It’s a safety issue many drivers either don’t follow, and despite awareness campaigns, don’t realize exists.
Within two minutes on patrol, the driver of an SUV pulls by with a thick layer of snow caking her roof. While police were on their way to pull her over, another vehicle with the same problem makes a sudden stop, as snow cascaded down, blocking the driver’s vision.
Houlihan wasn’t handing out tickets, just making it more of a courtesy stop.
“We just want to educate the public who are driving through Cherry Hill of this New Jersey law,” said Houlihan.
Tractor-trailers and larger commercial vehicles also pose larger problems, since bigger pieces of ice and snow can slide off and cause injury and accidents.
SUV driver Ricardo Duran was warned after his license plate was covered in snow.
“I cleaned my other cars. I didn’t even see the roof. I just cleaned the windshield on this one. I said, ‘OK, we’re good.’ I didn’t even think of cleaning the top,” said Duran.
In Pennsylvania, the West Whiteland Township Police Department posted a reminder on Facebook for residents to clean off their cars.
“When snow or ice is dislodged or falls from a moving vehicle and strikes another vehicle or pedestrian causing death or serious bodily injury, the operator of the vehicle from which the snow or ice is dislodged or falls shall be subject to a fine of not less than $200 nor more than $1,000 for each offense,” police said in the post.
Delaware does not have a snow removal law for drivers.