Hurtling ice from ve­hi­cle’s roof blamed for crash

The Daily Press (Timmins) - - FRONT PAGE - SARAH MOORE

Clean­ing your ve­hi­cle of snow and ice in win­ter months may be a pain, but fail­ing to do so can lead to se­ri­ous trou­ble for your­self and other mo­torists on Tim­mins road­ways.

That was the case on Tues­day morn­ing when the driver of a log­ging truck ended up in the ditch af­ter ice from an­other ve­hi­cle un­ex­pect­edly came fly­ing into his wind­shield.

The in­ci­dent oc­curred at 7:39 a.m. on high­way 101, east of the nighthawk Bridge.

The south Por­cu­pine On­tario Pro­vin­cial Po­lice (OPP), who were called to the scene to in­ves­ti­gate, con­firmed that fall­ing ice from the roof of an on­com­ing ve­hi­cle caused the wind­shield of an in­com­ing truck to shat­ter. The driver of that ve­hi­cle then lost con­trol and ended up in the ditch.

he was trans­ported by am­bu­lance to a lo­cal hos­pi­tal where he was treated for mi­nor in­juries as a re­sult.

The in­ci­dent is a les­son in the im­por­tance of tak­ing those ex­tra few min­utes to en­sure all snow and ice are cleared from your ve­hi­cle be­fore leav­ing the drive­way.

“The OPP make mon­i­tor­ing peo­ple driv­ing with un­safe ve­hi­cle con­di­tions part of their daily du­ties,” said Michelle simard, com­mu­nity safety of­fi­cer and me­dia relations with the south Por­cu­pine OPP.

“The pub­lic needs to take the ex­tra five min­utes to en­sure their ve­hi­cles are com­pletely clear of ice and snow to en­sure the safety of ev­ery­one. ice com­ing from a ve­hi­cle can cause se­ri­ous col­li­sions with se­ri­ous con­se­quences.”

The Tim­mins Po­lice ser­vice (TPS) takes a sim­i­lar stance on the is­sue and urges mo­torists to fully clear their ve­hi­cles to avoid any avoid­able col­li­sions from oc­cur­ring on city streets.

“We’re al­ways on the look­out for when peo­ple are driv­ing with only tiny sec­tions of their wind­shield clear and mak­ing their way down the road­way – this is a safety haz­ard – and if your view is ob­structed, there is po­ten­tial for charges to be laid,” said Marc de­patie, com­mu­ni­ca­tions co­or­di­na­tor for the TPS. The fines aren’t cheap, ei­ther. in ac­cor­dance with the high­way Traf­fic act, those driv­ing with an ob­structed view out of their front and/or rear wind­shield, their side view mir­rors, or with­out a clear view to the rear of their ve­hi­cle can be charged a fine of $110.

Cur­rently, how­ever, there is no charge di­rectly re­lated to hav­ing a buildup of snow or ice on the top of a ve­hi­cle – even if it later be­comes dis­lodged and hits the wind­shield of an on­com­ing car.

“There is no charge for driv­ing with snow on top of your ve­hi­cle, but com­mon cour­tesy we would hope would dic­tate that peo­ple would take the nec­es­sary time and ef­fort to clear that from their ve­hi­cle,” said de­patie. “in what we col­lo­qui­ally re­fer to as ‘mo­bile snow­storms,’ where ei­ther through neg­li­gence or be­ing in a hurry, mo­torists have left their drive­way or some lo­ca­tion with a pile of snow on their roof think­ing that physics will elim­i­nate the snow as they drive along. The sad fact is, they are cre­at­ing a traf­fic haz­ard for all mo­torists.”

Po­lice in other ju­ris­dic­tions have taken it upon them­selves to crack down on driv­ers with a buildup of snow and ice on the roofs of their ve­hi­cles, with one of­fi­cer in Win­nipeg even is­su­ing a ticket for driv­ing with “un­se­cured load” of snow.

That sec­tion of the high­way Traf­fic act in On­tario it­self does not men­tion snow specif­i­cally, how­ever, and both the TPS and OPP say there is no spe­cific law in place to en­force the re­moval of snow on top of a ve­hi­cle.

“i don’t want to cast the of­fi­cers in a dim light, but that’s per­haps an ‘in­ven­tive’ in­ter­pre­ta­tion of that sec­tion and the pre­sid­ing justice of the peace may choose to view it that way,” said de­patie. “From a po­lice per­spec­tive, the snow is not tech­ni­cally meet­ing the def­i­ni­tion of ‘load’ in the Traf­fic act.”

simard said sim­ply, “there is no charge for that,” but also noted that when she is per­son­ally on pa­trol, she does make a point to in­sist that driv­ers clear off their ve­hi­cles.

With that said, they both strongly urge mo­torists to con­sider this in­ci­dent a tale of cau­tion and to keep in mind that driv­ing with an ob­structed view can cause a dan­ger not only to the driver – but to oth­ers on the road, as well.

“This is a joint ven­ture be­tween law en­force­ment and the mo­tor­ing pub­lic,” de­patie con­cluded. “it is the win­ter sea­son and with that comes snow­falls and frosted win­dows, so we would en­cour­age all com­muters who are trav­el­ling through­out the area to take the req­ui­site amount of time to have their win­dows thor­oughly cleared of snow and frost.”

Sup­plied

A driver of a com­mer­cial ve­hi­cle was driven into the ditch on Tues­day af­ter ice from an­other ve­hi­cle came hurtling into his wind­shield. In this photo pro­vided to The Daily Press by the driver, the wind­shield is seen to be shat­tered and cracked, which caused the driver to lose vis­i­bil­ity and suf­fer mi­nor in­juries as a re­sult of the col­li­sion in Tim­mins.

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