Snow and ice can be beautiful, but they can also make driving dangerous and deadly. Pennsylvania recently enacted a law informally known as Christine’s Law to minimize the hazards of snow and ice buildup on vehicles.
Here are some key takeaways from the new Pennsylvania driving law.
History of Christine’s Law
Governor Tom Wolf approved Christine’s Law in July 2022, and the bill took effect in September 2022. Inspiration for this law comes from the tragic story of Christine Lambert. On Christmas Day in 2005, ice from atop a truck flew through Christine’s windshield, hitting her in the head and killing her instantly. According to this bill, drivers must remove snow and ice from their vehicles before driving or within 24 hours after the precipitation falls, whichever comes first.
Penalties for violating Christine’s Law
Authorities in Pennsylvania can pull a vehicle over if there is potentially hazardous snow or ice buildup on its hood or roof. Police can issue a $50 fine for the violation regardless of whether the precipitation flies off the vehicle, intending to prevent dangerous instances of dislodging. If the accumulation comes off a moving vehicle and injures or kills a pedestrian or someone in another car, the at-fault driver can receive a fine between $200 and $1,500. Additionally, an injured person can file a personal injury suit against the snow or ice-covered vehicle’s driver.
Christine’s Law exists to reduce the number of snow and ice-related injuries and deaths in Pennsylvania and to protect drivers from unknowingly causing harm to pedestrians and occupants of other vehicles. Time will tell the effectiveness of this preventative measure.