It’s that time of year again, the temperature is falling and so is accumulating snow! This presents a unique problem for the trucking industry, one that our members take seriously. This, of course, is the clearing of snow and ice from commercial vehicles prior to operation on public ways.
As you know, MMTA has continued to work to limit public policies that mandate commercial trucks be free of snow and ice prior to operation. At the same time, we advocate and educate that our members do all they can to keep their commercial vehicles safe for operation, including the clearing of snow and ice prior to use on a public way whenever safe and possible.
The Maine Legislature has recognized that the clearing of snow and ice from passenger cars is relatively easy and is the safe and prudent thing to do prior to operation. This is why in 2023 a new law was passed in Maine that requires snow and ice to be removed from vehicles with a registered weight of less than 10,000. This would include the pick-up trucks and small vans utilized by many in our industry.
During debate on the bill, the legislature also recognized that the clearing of snow and ice from commercial motor vehicles is not easy, and can actually create safety concerns for our professional drivers, especially those who are not leaving from a terminal after a recent snow event. As recognition of these safety concerns, drivers of most commercial vehicles (10,000 lbs or more) are exempted from the mandate to remove snow and ice. This does not relieve them of all responsibility from ensuring safe operation, as required by 49 CFR Part 396.7 or from ultimate responsibility for liability caused by snow or ice that may come off their commercial truck and/or trailer.
As with everything we do in our Industry, we must keep safety in mind. This not only includes the safety of the motoring public, but also the safety of our professional drivers. We ask that our members do all that they can to keep their commercial vehicles clear of snow and ice whenever practical and safe to do so.
As always, feel free to contact MMTA should you have questions or concerns.