This is something that really gets my blood boiling.
There are not many trucker friendly places left in the United States.
Of course the Northeast has never been trucker friendly as far as getting around the different Cities in the Northeast.
It seems every year it is getting less and less friendly too.
A few months back the state of New Jersey began enforcing a law to keep snow and ice off trucks and other vehicles. As of late October, drivers in New Jersey are responsible for making “all reasonable efforts to remove accumulated ice or snow” from the hood, trunk and roof of the motor vehicle, truck cab, trailer or inter-modal freight container. Violators face fines that could reach as high as $1,500.
Now isn’t this a little dangerous? I mean to go climbing around on top of a trailer that is 13’6″ tall. Who is liable if a driver does fall? I wonder what Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) says about this? Because usually inside factories or on certain properties you are not allowed on top of a vehicle without proper fall restraints.
Now as I understand it some places in New Jersey have some type of a drive through device that supposedly clears the snow and ice? Obviously, this law was not enacted with truck drivers in mind. As most would not attempt to climb on top of a snow covered trailer – that’s too dangerous. So, what is a truck driver to do? I guess the law was amended and now requires motorists to make a reasonable effort to remove all ice and snow from their vehicles before traveling on the roads.
Reasonable effort? Take a tire thumper and walk around and ‘hit’ what is in reasonable reach and drive off? Will that be sufficient? Well, get ready because New York is trying to mandate this same law as well.
Here is a comment I saw on one news site tells me the law wasn’t designed for truck drivers:
The upsetting part is that they even HAD to make this a law. It’s common sense to clear your car of all snow and ice. It’s bad enough monitoring the road for snow, ice, swerving cars/trucks, and clueless pedestrians. We shouldn’t have to keep looking up for sheets of ice too. There’s nothing too much scarier than driving down the turnpike and watching a large sheet of ice fly off the roof of some inconsiderate a$$ speeding by, They obviously had to be somewhere fast because they didn’t take the time to clear off their vehicle and they do not care who gets killed behind them.
Well, now New York City wants to get in on making money off truckers too. A bill sponsored by Sen. Daniel Squadron, D-Brooklyn, would set up a pilot truck weight photo-monitoring system in New York City. Targeted at trucks using roadways posted as a “No Truck” zone, it would allow city government to set up a local law or ordinance to create a demonstration program. Cameras would be activated by a vehicle sensor working in conjunction with a vehicle scale.
Some truckers say passage of the bill would be another reason to avoid going into the city. If you think about these ridiculous laws and there unbelievable fines it is easy to see the reasoning behind the laws – money. The bill – S875 – is in the Senate Transportation Committee.
I say it’s high time truckers take a stand. With no places to park – no idling laws – and now ridiculous laws to deal with – I say haul there freight to the line and tell them to come get it. Be safe you all – no load is worth any life.
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Thank you, Jason, for bringing attention to these topics. For now, I would like to address the issue of snow removal from the tops of large trucks. There are a number of questions that I think need to be asked:
1. What is the definition for “reasonable” removal of snow from the top of a large truck and who stands with an objective determination as to whether or not that has taken place? For example, if a driver leaves with 1/2 inch of snow on the top of his/her trailer (which he/she probably can’t even see from the ground), is that OK whereas a whole inch of snow is not?
2. Have the states that have enacted snow removal laws also provided (probably at taxpayer expense) snow removal equipment for truck drivers to be in compliance with the law? If the states have not, who has? This could be an opportunity for a cottage industry of snow removal equipment companies to start creating snow removal stations in various places. But there are complications (space, location, licensing and pricing among others) that must be considered.
3. Who will be liable for the injury or death of a driver who falls while attempting to clear the roof of his/her trailer? Will the driver’s widow/widower be entitled to file a lawsuit against the state and/or its legislators?
4. How close are drivers following trucks to the trucks at the time large amounts of snow and ice come off? Articles like this (http://archive.chicagobreakingnews.com/2010/01/peter-morano-aurora-semi-trailer-truck-snow-ice-injury-surgery-stitches-butterfield-road.html) never reveal that fact. Should the four-wheeler not be held responsible (in part or in full) for following too closely?
5. What happens to truck company insurance rates when drivers start climbing up (assuming they can climb up) on the roofs of their trailers to remove snow? Will the increase in insurance costs not go through the roof and get passed along to customers?
6. Who among the nation’s millions of professional truck drivers who pull trailers with roofs have the equipment to climb up on the roofs of their trailers to clear the snow? Which types of ladders have been approved for use? Where will the truckers store them on or in their trucks? Will the weight of the ladders reduce the weight of payload drivers can haul?
7. If there is harness equipment to catch people when they fall when working at a height, will that kind of equipment be made available to truck drivers? Again, who will have that and how can drivers access it?
8. How bad in reality is the problem associated with snow and ice coming off the tops of truck trailers? How many people are injured every year? What are the statistics? (Of course, even one person who is hurt is bad, but is the situation really deserving of a state law to make sure it never happens again?)
9. Can the scraping of snow and ice from the tops of trailers weaken their roofs or even damage them? Who pays for repairing the weakened or damaged areas? I speculate that it will take only a few ruined loads (where snow or ice entered the trailer through a hole on the roof) to bring attention to this possibility. Will insurance pay for this?
I’m sure there are many other questions that could be asked, but here’s one that tops the rest: Are states that set up these snow removal laws — knowing that there is inadequate equipment for truck drivers to be in compliance — not setting an automatic trap for drivers to fall into financially? Is it not downright predatory on the part of the states/legislators to create laws like this?
Thank you for letting me share my thoughts on this subject. I look forward to reading other drivers’ thoughts on this.