New York Law Targets Professional Drivers

February 11, 2011

Truckers have every reason to be concerned about a New York law proposal which will mean that police can pull over drivers, both truckers and motorists. The next time you are looking at a truck for sale, see if there is a defreezing or deicing option included for the whole rig! The proposals allow police to pull over any vehicle which has not been cleared of snow, ice or hail stones. There is also a proposed law to site road cameras in the already difficult and tortuous "No Truck" zones in New York City, which will further restrain the ability of truckers to operate in what is a very difficult driver area already.

The Snow Removal (S1321) Bill makes drivers responsible for cleaning off snow and ice from the truck. This would also include removing snow and ice from the truck, sleeping compartment and the trailer, including the top of the rig and trailer. Any excess over 3 inches will trigger a violation.

The penalties are severe.

Violators face fines from $450 (you heard me right) through to $1,250 for truckers (motorists would face reduced fines with a maximum of $850).

There is one exemption which is obviously going to cause confusion. There is an exemption to the law if the storm causing the snow, ice or hail covering of the truck has ended within three hours of the violator being ticketed. In three hours, a big rig can travel over 150 miles, which means a storm may have ended earlier in a location into which the truck travels. Who gets to say just when the storm starts or ends?

A further question we have with the Snow Removal Bill (S1321) is just how legislators expect drivers to comply with the requirements. It is a practical impossibility to remove snow and ice in excess of a vehicle, particularly one the size of an 18-wheeler. For starters, how will drivers be able to access all of the rig – climbing on top of the trailer is going to be difficult for many and what has not been considered is the risk to drivers who must undertake this clearing operation.

While the safety motivation behind S1321 is clear after the north east has been severely socked with three major storms this year, is this really going to make our roads safer. Another issue with S1321 is going to be pretty obvious if is passed – there is no provision to provide facilities to effectuate the removal of snow and ice from your truck – you have to do it yourself.

S875 is a bill to provide for cameras to be installed at approximately 50 intersections within NYC's No Truck Zones. Violators would receive $50 fines, or at least the truck owner would receive the fine. Without truckers willing to navigate a very congested and very difficult city, simply making life even more difficult will result in fewer truckers prepared to go to NYC in the first place.

OOIDA is already calling for drivers to contact NY State Senators to object to the passage of both the Snow Removal and Camera Bills and we support that call to action.

OOIDA will provide any help you need to contact your NY State Senator if you call them direct on toll-free 800 444 5791 or you can use this NY State Senator locator to identify who your political representatives are and how to contact them to voice your concerns over the proposed laws.

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