I know many of my friends and neighbors think Harrisburg is a strange place -- and there are plenty of times I just have to agree with them.
For example, just a hint from a television weatherman that the Capitol Region may get an inch or two of snow results in near mass hysteria. Schools close down. Travel restrictions are put in place and good luck finding a jug of milk or loaf of bread in the neighborhood grocery store.
And, in those random occasions when the Capitol does get a “major” snowstorm – meaning six or more inches – panic truly sets in.
Let’s just say that panic over a few inches of the white stuff seems very strange for someone like me who was born and raised in the heart of the Great Lakes’ “snow belt.”
We all know our winters come early. They last long and they bring plenty of snow.
All it takes is a bitter, cold winter wind to blow down from Canada across Lake Erie and we find ourselves buried by snowfalls with depths that are measured by yardsticks.
Yes, for the most part, we are all veterans of the annual battle against snow.
Sidewalks are shoveled. Driveways are cleared. And -- with ice scrapers, snow brushes and sometimes brooms -- we clear off our cars and trucks before we hit the highway.
At least, the vast majority of us do.
Unfortunately, there are some who are unwilling to take the few minutes to clear the snow and ice from their vehicles -- and perhaps you have seen the results.
An 18-inch thick slab of snow and ice blown from the top of an SUV is bad enough, but just imagine an iceberg of that same thickness coming off the top of a semi as it barrels along Interstate 90.
That negligence – regardless of the size of vehicle -- is simply unforgiveable – especially if it results in a tragic accident.
In fact, it was just such a tragedy that led Senator Lisa Boscola to introduce Senate Bill 114. Christine Lambert of Palmer Township, Northampton County, was killed in 2005 when a large piece of ice dislodged from a passing truck and crashed through her windshield.
Currently, the law only penalizes a driver when serious bodily harm occurs from a snow or ice projectile. Senate Bill 114 would give police officers discretion to pull over a vehicle where the buildup of ice or snow poses a potential hazard.
I was pleased to co-sponsor this bill and offer my sincere thanks to Senator Boscola for her persistence in pushing this important measure. The Senate approved Senate Bill 114 on October 21 and I hope our colleagues in the House will act quickly to move this bill to the Governor’s desk.