When winter hits, we're all conscious of snow and ice on the roadways, sidewalks, and stairways around the City. But did you know that snow and ice accumulation on automobiles is a major contributing factor to dangerous and even deadly motor vehicle accidents in New York every season? That's right, as the snow and ice buildup on our cars significant weight can accumulate if the debris isn't cleared. That buildup is an accident waiting to happen.
The primary danger is visibility. Snow and ice can not only obscure a driver's line of site momentarily but can create "blind spots" in which accidents can occur. And if snow and ice break free, they can completely cover windshields and rear windows blocking a driver's line of site completely.
Additionally, if that icy mess breaks free while the car or truck is travelling down the road at high speed, it becomes a visibility hazard to the drivers travelling behind the snow-laden vehicle (at best) and a (potentially) deadly missile to pedestrians and other drivers. Indeed, there have been documented incidents across North America involving ice chunks flying off moving vehicles and actually smashing through windshields of others, seriously injuring individuals inside.
While studies on the issue are few and far between, data does show that the most significant accidents and injuries involve snow and ice falling from large trucks such as commercial box trucks and semis.
Five states currently have laws on the books making it a fineable offense to operate a motor vehicle without having first cleared off accumulated ice and snow. In New York, multiple bills (including one co-sponsored by Joseph Addabbo and Tony Avella) have been proposed to amend current traffic laws in such a way as to mimic these existing laws. Potential fines could reach up to $1,000 for non-commercial vehicle operators and $1,200 for commercial vehicles. While the bills haven't yet proceeded to the vote in New York, failure to clear debris from a vehicle may still constitute negligence if the snow and ice does cause an accident. However, without actual witnesses, proving it in Court may be difficult.
If you or a loved one has been injured in an ice and snow related motor vehicle accident in New York City, your best chance to win financial compensation for your injuries is to contact a personal injury attorney immediately. You must prove negligence to win an award in Court and an investigation by a qualified legal team can help you do that. Call the Law Offices of Nussin S. Fogel for a free consultation to learn your rights at (800) 734-9338 or (212) 385-1122.