Icy Missile Launches From Cars, Trucks Have a Price on NH Roads
New Hampshire State Police responded to over 20 calls for vehicles damaged by ice flying off the roofs of trucks and cars on Saturday.
A number of drivers were also stopped because they did not clear the snow and ice from their vehicle in compliance with Jessica's Law, officially known as 265:79-b Negligent Driving. The law legally requires all snow and ice to be removed from vehicles before driving.
"Many operators failed to remove the layer of ice that formed on the roof of their vehicles during the recent storm. With the combination of warmer weather, sun, a running vehicle, and highway speeds, the ice was dislodged and hit vehicles following behind," State Police wrote in one of two social media messages on Saturday.
First-time offenders face a fine of between $250 and $500, while second offenses can mean a fine of $500 to $1,000.
Plenty of Complaints About Snow and Ice
The State Police Facebook page was full of complaints and comments about the snow and ice on other vehicles.
"I have seen comments in the past from people saying they were too short to reach the roof of their car to clean it. Then stop being proud and ask a neighbor or friend for help," Brenda LaPlante Lyman wrote. Lyman also said she bought a house roof rake to clear off her Jeep.
"There were too many vehicles to count today on 93 hurling iceberg and hitting vehicles behind them. It was legitimately scary to see," Kat Oliver wrote.
"Law enforcement could have made a fortune fining people today. At least $10k from Kingston to Epping. Saw ice fly off 2 cars and break in the road. Thankful it didn’t hit anyone," Kim Murphy wrote.
"My car's windshield was slammed this afternoon by someone else’s ice covered roof on 93 with me and my 2 year old daughter in the car. Thankfully not even a mark on my windshield/passenger window. Takes maybe 5 minutes people," Brianna McBee wrote.
What About Maine and Massachusetts?
Maine drivers do not face the same stringent laws to clean their cars, and are only required to clear the snow from their windshield and side windows.
Republican state Rep. Dustin White proposed legislation in 2021 that would add the requirement of cleaning "solid precipitation" off the roof of a vehicle. The bill died in committee.
Massachusetts does not have any laws regarding the removal of snow and ice from a vehicle. Police will often issue tickets citing an "unsecured load" which carries a $200 fine.
New Hampshire's Jessica's Law came into effect in 2001 after a sheet of ice flew off a tractor trailer and into another truck, causing a head-on collision with a car driven by Jessica Smith, 20, according to research by the John W. King New Hampshire Law Library. Smith died in the crash.