Snow and Ice traffic offense

Get ready for winter and make sure your ice scrapers are ready. The governor of New Jersey recently signed into law yet another new traffic offense. N.J.S.A. 39-77.1 was amended to include a series of new provisions, including making it a motor vehicle offense to operate a car with accumulates ice on the the vehicle. This includes the entire vehicle, trunk, windshield, hood, etc.
The police are authorized to stop motor vehicles that they feel are posing a threat to person or property as a result of the accumulated snow and ice. The new offense is a non-point violation and for a first offense a fine of up to $75. But take a look at the statute that follows, the penalties could be much more severe in some circumstances.

C.39:4-77.1) is amended to

read as follows:

1. a. (1) Each driver of a motor vehicle operated on a street or
highway in this State shall have an affirmative duty to make all
reasonable efforts to remove accumulated ice or snow from
exposed surfaces of3 the motor vehicle prior to operation [; this] ,
which surfaces3 shall include, but not be limited to,the hood,
trunk, windshield, windows, and roof of the motor vehicle, the
cab of a truck, the top of a trailer or semitrailer being drawn by a
motor vehicle, and the top of an intermodal freight container being
carried by an intermodal chassis . A person who violates the
provisions of this subsection may be stopped on a street or highway
by a law enforcement officer who believes the accumulated ice or
snow may pose a threat to persons or property and shall be subject
to a fine of not less than $25 or more than $75 for each offense
regardless of whether any snow or ice is dislodged from the motor
vehicle. No motor vehicle points or automobile insurance
eligibility points pursuant to section 26 of P.L.1990, c.8 (C.17:33B-
14) shall be assessed for[this offense] a violation of this
paragraph. Every day upon which a violation occurs shall be
considered a separate violation, but no person shall be subject to
more than one fine for a violation of this paragraph in a period of 24

consecutive hours .

(2) This subsection shall not apply to any driver of a motor
vehicle operated during a snow or ice storm that began and
continued for the duration of the motor vehicle’s operation or to any

operator of a motor vehicle while it is parked.

(3) No fine shall be imposed pursuant to paragraph (1) of this
subsection on the driver of a commercial motor vehicle, as the term
is defined in R.S.39:1-1, that is traveling to a location where
equipment or technology that is used to remove snow and ice from
commercial motor vehicles is available, provided that the driver has
not already passed a location with snow and ice removal equipment
or technology after snow or ice shall 1 have accumulated on the
exposed surfaces of the commercial motor vehicle. In determining
whether the vehicle has already passed a location with equipment or
technology that is used to remove snow and ice from commercial
motor vehicles, a law enforcement officer shall have the authority
to inspect any documentation relating to the route traveled by the
driver of the commercial motor vehicle prior to being stopped,
including, but not limited to, a log book or map depicting the route

traveled by the vehicle.

(4) Notwithstanding the provisions of paragraph (1) of this

subsection:

(a) the person who is in physical possession of a motor vehicle
at the time snow or ice accumulates on the exposed surfaces of the
motor vehicle shall be responsible for removing the accumulated
snow or ice from the exposed surfaces of the motor vehicle and
shall be liable for a violation of the duty to remove accumulated
snow or ice prior to operation of the motor vehicle pursuant to
paragraph (1) of this subsection. If the driver of the motor vehicle
was not in physical possession of the motor vehicle at the time the
snow or ice accumulated, then such driver shall not be liable for a

violation of paragraph (1) of this subsection.

(b) in the case of any trailer or semitrailer being drawn by a
motor vehicle or of any vehicle or combination of vehicles carrying
an intermodal freight container, the person, including, but not
limited to a shipper or consignee, who is in physical possession of
the trailer, semitrailer, or container at the time snow or ice
accumulates on such trailer, semitrailer, or container shall be
responsible for removing the accumulated snow or ice from the
trailer, semitrailer, or container and shall be liable for a violation of
the duty to remove accumulated snow or ice prior to operation of a
motor vehicle pursuant to paragraph (1) of this subsection. If the
driver of the motor vehicle was not in physical possession of the
trailer, semitrailer, or container at the time the snow or ice
accumulated, then such driver shall not be liable for a violation of
paragraph (1) of this subsection.4 35
b. When snow or ice is dislodged from a moving vehicle and
strikes another vehicle or pedestrian causing injury or property

damage, the following penalties shall apply:

The operator of a non-commercial motor vehicle shall be subject

to a fine of not less than $200 or more than $1,000 for each offense.

The operator, owner, lessee, bailee or any one of the aforesaid of
a commercial motor vehicle shall be subject to a fine of not less

than $500 or more than $1,500 for each offense.

No motor vehicle points or automobile insurance eligibility
points pursuant to section 26 of P.L.1990, c.8 (C.17:33B-14) shall

be assessed for[this offense] a violation of this subsection446 .