(NECN: Jack Thurston, Montpelier, Vt.) - A proposal by Vt. state lawmakers Rep. Kurt Wright, R-Burlington, and Rep. Herb Russell, D-Rutland City, would require drivers to clear accumulated snow and ice from vehicles and trailers they're hauling before the motorists hit the roads in Vermont.
"I think it's a safety issue," Wright told New England Cable News Tuesday.
Wright said the proposed legislation, similar to laws that already exist in other states, including Connecticut, would make failing to clean vehicles properly punishable by a fine. However, Wright explained he would only want to see fines handed out in egregious cases where police saw a truly serious road hazard created by the accumulated snow and ice that led to "ice missiles" flying off moving vehicles.
Wright said he believes the biggest threats to safety exist from large vehicles, such as commercial trucks. "Large hunks of ice come off and can cause accidents and really harm someone," Wright said.
Driver Sebastian Von Trapp agreed. "It's sort of a pain," he told NECN. "This thing flies up and hits you in the windshield. I think people should clean off their vehicle."
Wright acknowledged the idea would be met with a lot of opposition, especially from the trucking industry. He admitted the bill doesn't have much traction in the Vt. House Transportation Committee, of which he is a member.
One argument against the proposal is that it can be very difficult to clear the tops of big tractor trailers. Even some people who think drivers should clean their cars believe a rule may be tricky to enforce. "If you're an older person or if you're somebody who has disabilities, I think it's harder for them," driver Ross Calabrese told NECN. "Should they get fined? I don't think so."
If the bill goes nowhere this legislative session, Rep. Wright said he still hopes just talking about the issue serves as a reminder to drivers to remove as much snow and ice as possible before heading out on their trips.