Can You Be Liable if You Cause an Accident Because Your Vision Is Impaired?
It may be dangerous, but it’s a common sight—motorists driving on the streets or highways of Pennsylvania with an accumulation of snow on the hood or windshield, or with small patches scraped in the ice or frost on the windows. What does Pennsylvania law say about the responsibility of a driver who causes an accident because they failed to clear snow or ice from a vehicle?
No Statutory Requirement to Remove Accumulated Snow and Ice
There is currently no written law in the state of Pennsylvania that obligates drivers to remove ice or snow from a motor vehicle before taking on the street. The legislature has seen many such bills introduced, but none have passed. There is, though, a statutory provision that can lead to fines and penalties if a driver has a sufficient accumulation of snow or ice on a vehicle such that it forms a “projectile” and causes death or serious bodily injury to another driver.
However, just because there’s no written law governing the accumulation of snow and ice doesn’t mean a driver can’t be held financially accountable for another person’s loss or injury. Under the legal theory of negligence, all persons in society are required to use reasonable care in their daily pursuits, so as not to create an unreasonable risk of injury to others. It can be argued in a court of law that a reasonable person, upon observing an accumulation of ice or snow that might impair visibility, would clean the snow and ice from places such as the windshield, hood, bumpers, top, and other areas. In determining what areas to clean, the driver should give consideration to loose snow that might blow around while driving, thereby impairing visibility.
Contact Barnard, Mezzanotte, Pinnie, Seelaus & Kraft LLP
At Barnard, Mezzanotte, Pinnie, Seelaus & Kraft LLP, we have protected the rights of personal injury victims in Pennsylvania since 1980, including individuals with wrongful death claims. We offer a free initial consultation. To schedule an appointment, call us at 610-565-4055 or 302-594-4535 or contact us online.
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