There are renewed calls for increased attention to vehicle safety, after a Vermont driver suffered minor injuries when a chunk of ice flew off the top of a passing truck and smashed through her windshield.
Celeste Brasseur, 35, of Charlotte, told necn affiliate NBC 5 News that she is extremely grateful her injuries weren’t worse.
She needed a few stitches at the ER, and said she’s eager to put the ordeal behind her.
Investigators said her SUV was hit Wednesday on Route 7 in Charlotte by a chunk of ice that broke off the top of a tractor trailer heading the opposite direction. The collision forced the driver off the road and caused cuts to the face of Brasseur.
After the ice missile struck, the tractor trailer driver kept heading south on Route 7, perhaps unaware anything even happened. According to Vermont State Police, the big rig had a red cab, a white trailer, and red lettering on the trailer.
Police now want to hear from anyone who may have witnessed this, or who may have information on the incident that happened just after 8:45 a.m. Wednesday.
Potential witnesses may call Cpl. Andrew Leise at the Williston Barracks of the Vermont State Police at 802-878-7111.
Vermont has seen the problem enough times that Rep. Kurt Wright, R-Burlington, proposed a rule, similar to Connecticut’s, that would mandate drivers clean snow and ice off their vehicles or face fines.
However, concerns over how to enforce such a law, especially with long-distance haulers, left that legislation in park in the Vermont House.
“It’s a bill I have out there that hasn’t gotten any traction, but I still believe it’s something we have to take up seriously,” Rep. Wright said. “It’s clearly a public safety issue.”
Paul Hebert, a mechanical engineer from Manchester, Connecticut, told necn he has a potential solution that could help reduce personal injuries from flying ice chunks or clumps of crusty snow.
Hebert works for the manufacturer of a new product called Snow-Be-Gone, which is debuting this week in Kentucky at the nation’s largest trucking expo.
“Everybody wants to be safe on the road,” Hebert observed in an interview from Kentucky. “So if you’re removing that snow, you’re less likely to have those icy projectiles coming at your windshield.”
Snow-Be-Gone is an $8,800 rooftop plow that glides along the top of a tractor trailer when it’s in park, knocking away snow. The device is operated from the outside of the big rig.
When the accessory is not in use, it rests along the front face of the wall of the trailer, behind the large vehicle’s cab.
“In the trucking industry, everything is about time and money,” Hebert said. “So the ability to remove the snow in a matter of 10 minutes makes it very easy for them, especially at the push of a button. They can get right back on the road and get on to their next stop.”
Vermont State Police want to help curb cases of personal injury or vehicle damage from flying ice, too.
After the latest dangerous incident this week in Charlotte, VSP pleaded with all drivers in a post on Facebook to take the time to clear their vehicles after storms.