Pennsylvania requires drivers to remove snow and ice from cars

Don’t feel like cleaning off the snow and ice from your car? In Pennsylvania, that could result in you getting a fine of $ $25 and $75 for each offense.

Sen. Lisa Boscola, D-Lehigh County, has reintroduced a bill that would require drivers to make “all reasonable efforts” to remove all ice or snow from their vehicles.

Recently, Boscola reintroduced a similar bill that would fine truck drivers for not clearing the snow and ice from their rigs.

“Many times while driving on our roadways, we have all been the victim of falling snow and ice coming from vehicles in front of us,” Boscola said in a memo about her bill. “This is not only extremely dangerous but can lead to personal injuries and fatalities.”

Boscola said that she first proposed the bills after one of her constituents was killed in 2005 when an “ice missile” fell off a tractor-trailer and struck her vehicle.

Both bills have been sent to the Pennsylvania Senate Transportation Committee for review. Previously, the bills have died in the same committee. The bill aims to keep Pennsylvania’s drivers safer while commuting during the winter months.

This article was last updated January 20, 2017. 

Using Facebook live while driving

Recently, it has been observed that users of Facebook are going live while behind the wheel. Being on Facebook Live while driving has backfired several times on the driver. There was an incident last year when a Florida motorist, Whitney Beall was arrested for allegedly using Periscope while driving drunk. She even titled her live stream “drunk girl driving” and someone called 911 and was able to get the police to find her location.

As officers attempted to pull over the driver she hit the curb with her front tire. Officers said that they smelled alcohol on Beall after she was pulled over, her speech was impaired and her eyes were glossy. She failed the standardized field sobriety tests but refused the breathalyzer test. Beal was arrested and charged with driving under the influence.

In Rhode Island, Onasi Olio-Rojas was driving over 100 mph and got seriously injured in an accident while streaming on Facebook live. Rescuers had to remove Rojas from the car and he was in critical condition.

smart phone

Being on Facebook live and driving can cause serious personal injuries to drivers, passengers, and other vehicles. Be smart when driving and do not become distracted by your phone. Everything on your phone can wait until your car has come to a complete stop and been turned off.

The simple rule is don’t drive while live. For the record, it’s 100 percent illegal to hold your phone while driving and second it’s 100 percent illegal to hold your phone while driving and going live. View § 3316.  Prohibiting text-based communications. To see Pennsylvania’s laws on texting while driving.

Seat belt use during the holiday season

The Pennsylvania State Police and the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) invite parents and caregivers to make this holiday season a safer one by taking advantage of free car seat checks across the state that will complement the nationwide Click It or Ticket “Operation Safe Holiday” enforcement effort occurring from November 20 through December 4.

Troopers and other department members certified as Child Passenger Safety Technicians will conduct no-cost car seat fittings, at various locations no appointment necessary. Car seats will be checked for suitability, and participants will receive instruction on proper installation and child restraint. For a complete list of child passenger seat fitting stations, please visit http://www.psp.pa.gov.

Under Pennsylvania law, children under the age of four must be properly restrained in an approved child safety seat. A new provision, signed into law this summer, mandates that children under two-years-old be secured in a rear-facing car seat. Children from age four to age eight must use an appropriate booster seat.

“Seat-belts and child passenger safety seats save lives when used properly,” said Major Edward Hoke, Pennsylvania State Police Bureau of Patrol Director. Troopers will be issuing citations for seat-belt and child-seat violations as part of the enforcement effort.

Children ages eight to 18 must wear a seatbelt when riding anywhere in a vehicle and all drivers and front-seat passengers 18-years-old and older are required to buckle up.

Part of Penn DOT’s mission is to educate the public on safety concerns and encourage them to do the right things while driving to protect themselves and their families from harm or injury. They are working with law enforcement to urge travelers to always buckle up and never drive impaired by drugs or alcohol.

During enforcement operations, law enforcement will conduct seat belt and impaired driving enforcement simultaneously because unbelted and impaired driving crashes are shown to be significant contributors to traffic injuries and deaths, especially during nighttime hours

According to Penn DOT data, during the Thanksgiving holiday travel period in 2015, including the weekend before and after the holiday as well as the day itself, there were 4,029 crashes and 45 fatalities in those crashes statewide. The Christmas and New Year’s travel periods, including the weekend before Christmas, New Year’s and the weekend after, saw 4,985 crashes and 46 fatalities.

Additionally, during the Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s holidays last year, 1,209 of the statewide crashes involved a driver impaired by drugs or alcohol, with 38 fatalities in those crashes. In that same period, there were 1,076 crashes with unbuckled occupants, with 48 fatalities in those crashes.

Officials also encouraged travelers to use the Safer Ride app. The app, developed in 2014 by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in an effort to curb drunk driving, is available for free download on Android and Apple devices and is a great option to facilitate a safe ride home after you’ve been drinking. Once the app is downloaded, you can use it to call a taxi or a friend by identifying your location so you can be picked up.

For more information on Penn Dot’s highway safety efforts during the holiday seasons visit, http://www.penndot.gov/safety.

This article was last updated on January 19, 2017. 

Consumer Product Safety Commission hopes to be tougher on violators

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is responsible for protecting children and consumers against unreasonable risks associated with thousands of consumer products.

For all products regulated by the CPSC, a Letter of Advice (LOA) is issued when there has been a violation of a mandatory standard. This letter advises the company of such a violation and any corrective action that can be taken such as to correct future production, stop the sale of a product, and recall the product. Click here to view lists of importers and manufacturers who have been issued a LOA beginning in the Fiscal Year of 2013.

Under 15 U.S. Code § 2068 – it is unlawful for any person to sell, offer for sale, manufacture for sale, distribute in commerce, or import into the U.S any consumer product, or other product or substance that is regulated under this chapter or any other Act enforced by the commission, that is not in appliance with applicable consumer product safety rules under the chapter, or any similar rule, regulation, standard or ban under any other act enforced by the commission.

Any person who knowingly violates provisions of the U.S Code mentioned above shall be subject to a civil penalty not to exceed $100,000 for each violation. In determining the amount of a penalty violators of Section 2068 have to pay, the Commission shall consider the nature, circumstances, extent, and gravity of the violation. This includes the nature of the product defect, the severity of the risk of injury, the occurrence or absence of injury, the number of defective products distributed, the appropriateness of such penalty in relation to the size of the business of the person charged, including how to mitigate undue adverse economic impacts on small businesses, and other factors as appropriate.

The term “knowingly” means:

  1. Having actual knowledge that you may be violating this mandatory standard.
  2. Having reasonable knowledge deemed to be possessed by a reasonable person.

Over the years the CPSC has increased staffing and funding with hopes to get tougher on violators who may face civil and criminal penalties. There is a ban on reselling recalled products, enhanced whistleblower protections, safety certifications, and product tracking labels. Being tougher on violators strengthens the CPSC’s ability to protect American Consumers from things that may harm them.

Now more than ever it is important for companies and producers to review their products safety policies and procedures to determine if they comply with all applicable product safety rules and regulations.

Personal Injury Attorney in Pennsylvania

Contact the attorneys at the Ciccarelli Law Offices if you have been injured or harmed due to a product not being safe. Your first consultation is free so call (610) 719-3190 today so that attorneys can start investigating the details of your particular case.

This article was last updated on January 18, 2017.