Flying Ice Car Accidents : CT Law Requires Removal of Snow/Ice
Flying Ice/Snow Removal Statute Now Applies to ALL Drivers
A snow and ice storm has just passed, and you are feeling comfortable on the roads once again. You are merging onto the highway behind a car with a roof rack that is packed with snow and ice from the snow storm one day ago. As you both accelerate up to traveling speed, the snow and ice lifts off of the vehicle in front of you in one piece, travels 10 feet in the air, and slams into your windshield. BOOM! Your windshield is covered in snow and ice, if not totally destroyed, and your vision is obstructed instantly. This is a recipe for disaster.
The first time you experience flying ice as a driver can be very scary. Flying ice happens when built up snow and ice is not cleared from the tops of vehicles. As they accelerate, parts, chunks and sometimes sheets of ice come flying off of their vehicles. This usually happens on the highway, where high speeds create a lot of wind resistance, lifting the sheets of ice off of vehicles. Due to the high speeds of highway travel, there is less time to react to the flying ice. In dense traffic situations, avoiding the flying ice may be impossible, as you have to maintain your lane of travel in order to avoid collision.
In the State of Connecticut, drivers are required by law to clear snow and ice from all parts of their vehicle after a snow storm. Connecticut General Statute Section 14-252(a), titled “Removal of ice and snow from motor vehicle required” was enacted specifically to battle the issue of flying ice. It requires that snow be removed from the hood, roof and trunk of the vehicle.
At first, the statute applied only to non-commercial vehicles. Failure to remove snow and ice is a minimum fine of $75. Failure to remove snow and ice that results in damage to property or injury to persons can result in a fine ranging from $200 to $1000.
Starting December 31, 2013, the Statute will also apply to commercial vehicles. Due to the large and flat nature of the tops of tractor trailers, truckers have become one of the more common causes of flying ice. Starting 2014, truckers and other commercial vehicles will be held to the same snow and ice clearing standards as regular citizens. However, their fines for not clearing ice and snow that cause property damage or personal injury will range from $500 to $1250.
In addition to State fines, drivers who cause property damage and physical injury by failing to clear their vehicles of ice and snow will be liable for such damages. When an individual causes injury to another person in the process of violating State or Federal law, especially when the person injured is of the sort that the statute was meant to protect, that person is said to be negligent per se. This means that in order to recover against the liable party, the injured person does not need to prove the elements of negligence: only that a law was broken, injury was caused, and these are the resulting damages. This makes recovery much more likely.
It should be noted that drivers are not required to clear ice and snow from their vehicles (1) when they are parked (obviously) and (2) while the storm is still going on (continuing storm doctrine).
If you or a loved one is injured by flying ice this winter, you need to seek proper medical attention, attempt to get the identity of the other driver, and contact a personal injury attorney who can assist in recovering your loses from the liable party. You can contact us by phone at (203)794-6691 or by e-mail at Glouzgal@CTAttorney.us.