PUBLIC SAFETY: State, Bergen County and local police this morning were ticketing motorists driving without cleaning off the tops of their vehicles.
Police in Maywood and Rochelle Park said their squads issued seven summonses each for uncleared vehicles this morning alone. Waldwick police have issued no fewer than dozen in recent weeks.
“We are out there to protect the public and this is part of it,” Rochelle Park Police Chief Robert Flannelly told CLIFFVIEW PILOT.
Maywood Police Chief David Pegg said he made it a priority for his officers, as well.
Upper Saddle River police issued five summonses to motorists with uncleared vehicles. New Milford police issued two.
The stepped-up enforcement follows reports of vehicle damage following Monday’s overnight and afternoon snowfall, as well as an image on CLIFFVIEW PILOT yesterday of a flying chunk of ice that nearly struck a car on Route 4 ( SEE: Flying block of ice narrowly misses car on Route 4 ).
( CLIFFVIEW PILOT provided the license plate to a detective who said that authorities are trying to find the driver of the Santa Fe with the New York license plates responsible for yesterday’s flying block.)
“During storms officers are tied down with slip and falls, wires down and accidents and other related calls,” the chief said. “After the initial storm, though, when time is available we are enforcing it.”
Motorists have reported a variety of incidents.
Margaret Maguire Lugo said her daughter was driving on the Garden State Parkway yesterday when a chunk of flying ice smashed her windshield ( see photo, top ).
“I witnessed ice fly off a truck, smash through a car window and kill the driver,” wrote Janice Ade. “It was horrible…. There are no excuses for not doing this.”
“I lost an entire windshield from ice coming off the top of a car on 287,” added Tim King. “It lifted like a huge sheet, flew over the 2 cars in front of me.”
Peter Romano wrote: “Left lane [yesterday] on 17 southbound after Paramus Park exit the car in front of me had 4 sheets of ice fly off the roof. I had plenty of distance to avoid them but one flew across the Jersey barrier into the northbound left lane of 17. Dangerous.”
It’s not only others who can be killed or injured if you don’t clear your car: “The snow on the roof can also slide forward over the driver’s windshield blocking the view of the roadway,” Flannelly noted.
Last night, in fact, police in Andover Township said snow that slid off the roof of an SUV onto the driver’s windshield contributed to a head-on crash on Route 206.
New Milford Detective Lt. Frank Ramaci added that pedestrians as well as motorists are at risk when potentially lethal chunks of ice go flying.
New Jersey motorists caught not removing ice or snow from their vehicles face fines of $25 to $75 for each offense, regardless of whether the ice and snow is dislodged in transit.
If flying ice or snow causes property damage or injury to others, motorists face fines of $200 to $1,000 for each offense.
“Snow and ice left on a vehicle, in particular on the hood, windows and roof, can become a deadly projectile, creating a hazard for everyone on the road,” the state Division of Highway Traffic Safety says. “The few moments it takes to clear ice and snow from your vehicle could prevent a crash or save a life.”
Col. Rick Fuentes, superintendent of the New Jersey State Police, was more emphatic — saying that the law “prohibits what common sense should have already dictated.”
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