Drivers Must Remove Ice and Snow or Face Fines
New law requires motorists to clear vehicles prior to driving
Winter officially starts later this month, but before the first major snowfall, motorists in New Jersey should take note of a new law that took affect this fall.
New Jersey drivers could now face up to a $75 fine for failing to clean the ice and snow off their cars.
In the past, said Division of Highway Traffic Safety Director Pam Fischer, drivers would only be fined if snow and ice fell off their vehicle and caused damage or injury.
"Snow and ice left on a vehicle, in particular on the hood, windows and roof, can become a deadly projectile, creating a hazard for everyone on the road," Fischer said. "The few moments it takes to clear ice and snow from your vehicle could prevent a crash or save a life."
According to the amended law, which took affect on Oct. 20, motorists will be expected to clean snow and ice off before hitting the road or face a fine of $25 to $75. The fines for damage or injury range from $200 to $1,000, or $500 to $1,500 for commercial drivers.
No motor vehicle points will be assessed for this offense. If failure to remove ice and snow results in injury or property damage, motorists face fines ranging from $200 to $1,000, while commercial motor vehicle drivers face fines ranging from $500 to $1,500 for each offense.
In anticipation of the inclement weather, motorists are encouraged by the Division of Highway Traffic Safety to:
- Tune up and winterize their vehicles, as well as check the radiator, battery, antifreeze, and all other fluid levels.
- Check tire treads and replace them if they're unsafe.
- Check and replace windshield wiper blades if the rubber is cracked and/or brittle, and be sure to check and refill the washer fluid reservoir.
- Maintain at least a half a tank of gas during the winter to prevent the fuel line from freezing.
The Division of Highway Traffic Safety also recommends that motorists assemble a winter driving "safety kit" before the onset of inclement weather. The kit should include: an ice scraper/brush; shovel; jumper cables or battery starter; warm blanket; sand, salt or cat litter (for traction in ice and snow); de-icer; safety flares/warning devices; flashlight and new batteries; extra windshield washer fluid; cell phone with a charged spare battery; water and non-perishable food (i.e. granola or protein bars); and, paper towels or a cloth.