Pennsylvania bill would set up grant program for vehicle snow and ice scrapers

October 26, 2022

Keith Goble

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The Pennsylvania state lawmaker responsible for the new rule that covers snow and ice removal from atop vehicles wants to set up a grant program for scrapers to be installed around the state.

Dubbed Act 90, the rule now in effect requires drivers to remove accumulated ice or snow before driving on roadways.

Next steps

Sen. Lisa Boscola, D-Northampton, led the charge at the statehouse to get Act 90 into statute.

Boscola said at the time the rule was enacted her next step would be to establish a grant program for scrapers to be installed in locations that are easily accessible for truck drivers and others.

Her bill, SB1354, would create a snow and ice removal grant program.

The bill would make available funds for installation of snow and ice removal technology “to assist commercial vehicles with removing snow and ice from their rooftops following winter storms,” Boscola explained in a memo.

Grant funds would be made available to entities to invest in snow removal technology for individual businesses and publicly accessible locations, including a service area, a weigh station, an inspection facility, a port, a terminal or another intermodal transportation facility.

Eligible entities and locations would be identified through stakeholder input and feedback.

Funding options could include public-private partnerships and preexisting programs intended to improve road safety.

SB1354 has been sent to the Senate Transportation Committee.

Act 90

Pennsylvania law enforcement is authorized to issue tickets solely for failure to clear their vehicles of snow and ice. In addition to trucks, mass transit vehicles, buses, and school buses are covered by the rule.

Drivers are required to make “reasonable efforts” to remove snow or ice from all parts of their vehicles within 24 hours of a weather event.

Offenders would face a maximum fine of $1,500 if the wintry precipitation causes serious injury or death. An additional protection is included allowing police to ticket drivers $50 for failure to clear snow or ice before they take to the roads.

Truck operators would be excused if they are on their way to a facility to remove accumulated snow or ice. In addition, violations would not be issued if compliance would cause the trucker to violate any federal or state law or regulation regarding workplace safety, or if it would be a health or safety threat.

Enforcement is limited to highways.

OOIDA concern

The Association has concerns about rules that permit police to pull over drivers whose vehicles were not cleared of snow or ice. OOIDA points out that facilities are not readily available to accommodate clearance mandates on trucks. Another problem is the practicality of rules that appear to require people to climb atop large vehicles, and do so in less-than-desirable conditions.

OOIDA says the accumulation of snow and ice on any vehicle has the potential to negatively impact highway safety.

“However, when it comes to commercial motor vehicles, there’s really no practical or safe way of removing it from the top of a trailer, especially during winter weather conditions.”

The Association does note that Act 90 does “appear to address some of the safety issues that OOIDA and others have raised through the years.” LL

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Keith Goble has been covering trucking-related laws since 2000. His daily web reports, radio news and “OOIDA’s State Watch” in Land Line Magazine are the industry’s premier sources for information regarding state legislative affairs.