Lehigh Valley

New device could help keep dangerous ice off tops of tractor trailers

New device could help keep dangerous ice off tops of tractor trailers

UPPER MACUNGIE TWP., Pa. - It's not a good feeling--you're driving down the highway when a giant chunk of ice flies off a semi and comes barreling at your windshield.

It's happened plenty of times before.

"It gets your attention at 50 miles per hour," said Steve Krouse, who had his car damaged by flying ice.

But a local lawmaker wants to make sure it never happens again.

Flying ice missiles launched from fast-moving semis are a real danger on Pennsylvania highways.

On Christmas Day, 2005, a Lehigh Valley woman was killed when ice flew off a tractor trailer and slammed into her windshield.

That tragic accident put Pennsylvania Senator Lisa Boscola on a mission.

She's pushing for a bill that would require all tractor trailer drivers to remove ice and snow before hitting the road.

It would strengthen Pennsylvania's current law, which fines drivers only if flying snow or ice causes death or serious bodily injury.

But it hasn't been an easy ride. The commercial trucking industry says it's not that simple.

"You can't just tell a driver you have to keep your trailer clear and not give us a way to do it safely," said Leroy Ziegler, a truck driver.

"The excuse was 'we don't want our workers climbing the trucks,'" said Boscola, D-Lehigh/Northampton counties.

Walgreens installed a device at its Lower Nazareth warehouse about six years ago that helps remove snow and ice.

The giant ice blade pulls snow and ice from a rig roof in a matter of minutes.

"When every truck leaves here, you know they are safe on the highway and that snow and ice has been cleared off," Boscola said.

Drivers would like to see that device more accessible.

"They should put them inside of these rest areas and truck stops, where we can pull in and do it that way," Ziegler said.

Boscola's bill is currently under review by the Senate Transportation Committee.

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