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No Fine For Too Much Snow

The D.C. Council unanimously approved emergency legislation that will require drivers to remove frozen snow and ice from their vehicles.

But the penalty will be a warning, not a $50 fine.

The bill, introduced by Council member Harry Thomas Jr. (D-Ward 5), was amended to eliminate the fine until a hearing can be held and council members can study laws in other jurisdictions.

Council member Michael A. Brown (I-At Large) requested the friendly amendment just before the council took a voice vote.

The change was welcome after several council members expressed concerns that the legislation was vague and that residents have not had a chance to weigh in.

Under the legislation, a police officer would determine whether a driver made the effort to clear a vehicle of precipitation. "It seems very, very...subjective on the part of a police officer," said Council member Phil Mendelson (D-At Large). "If a police officer doesn't like me, I'll get a ticket."

Emergency legislation goes into effect immediately after a signing by the mayor and lasts no more than 90 days. That's just enough time to get through wintry weather.

The council is expected to vote on a temporary bill later. It will last no longer than 225 days.


By Nikita R Stewart  |  February 3, 2009; 12:01 PM ET
Categories:  D.C. Council  
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Next: Police Union Takes Issue With Mendelson's Comments


It's amazing how quick people are to declare as "ridiculous" a law that seeks to promote the very basics of safe driving. What these scofflaws are really saying is, "Please, don't bother me while I selfishly endanger the lives of others." These are the same characters who are opposed to red light cameras and sobriety checks.

Posted by: IHeartDC | February 3, 2009 6:02 PM | Report abuse

Just another creative tax thought up by people that have underground parking and don't have to deal with this situation.
Sure sheet ice coming off in one big blob can certainly create potentially dangerous driving hazards, but thanks to global warming we have found over the past 10 years the month of January has turned too the month of Junuary and February has turned to Fuly, so it shouldn't be a problem. Whats next too much pigeon crap on the paint that creates visual pollution?

Posted by: Sideswiped | February 3, 2009 8:11 PM | Report abuse

It appears, we have a bunch of idiots sitting on the Council of the District of Columbia. Apparently, they have too much time on their hands or they are not focused on more important issues like rapid crime in this city.

Posted by: KappaNupe | February 4, 2009 12:18 AM | Report abuse

Do they mean parked cars or those in motion? If the former, does that mean that someone who usually doesn't move the car after a storm and waits for natural melting (a senior citizen, for example) will now be required to clear a parked car?

Posted by: cyraxote | February 4, 2009 3:43 AM | Report abuse

I have no problem with this new law except if it is a warning only what is the point- I would actually like the city to deal with landlords and homeowners who don't clear their sidewalks- I would assume there are many more injuries to people walking along icy sidewalks than from snow falling off or cars.

On Q Street NW between 17th and 18th there are consistantly people who seem to feel that the snow will melt or the ice will evaporate and they don't do anything to clean their sidewalks for days after a storm.

I think we need to have the police ticket these individuals.

Posted by: peterdc | February 4, 2009 1:42 PM | Report abuse

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