New Jersey snow-removal law needs rethinking

New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine has signed what may be the first law of its kind in the country, according to the Associated Press. The law, which requires drivers to clear snow and ice off of their vehicles in the winter, goes into effect in one year, in time for the winter of 2010-2011.

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Assn. is not happy with the law, as I imagine most trucking entities will not be.

“It amounts to feel-good legislation that is going to lead to the injury of drivers,” Joe Rajkovacz, OOIDA regulatory affairs specialist, told Land Line Magazine.

Drivers would face a fine of $25 to $75 for an infraction of “dangerous accumulations” of snow or ice on their cars or trucks. Enforcement is being delayed, according to the governor’s office, to give truckers time to install snow-removal equipment.

OOIDA says the law is nearly impossible to comply with, and puts drivers’ safety at risk. If snow accumulates during driving, the vehicle would be exempt.

If the state insists on truckers complying with this new law, let's hope there is financial help coming for carriers to fund the safety equipment purchases necessary so drivers are not put at risk. A better option would be delaying the implemention further until technology makes safely removing snow from trailer roofs not only physically possible, but financially possible.

The last thing trucking needs right now, particularly the smaller carriers who are struggling for survival these days, is another law requiring financial investment, further straining the finances of so many carriers.