In a snow storm, slabs of ice are formed on the roofs of parked trailers. Unless the ice is removed by the trucking company or the driver, the slabs of ice fall from the tractor trailers onto the highways and passing cars, creating significant danger on our highways. While falling ice has been a known hazard for decades, trucking companies have paid scant attention to the risk it poses. The slabs of ice and snow falling off tractor trailers are often large, and given extra force by the speed of the truck when the ice comes off the trailer, and the speed of the car the ice hits. In fact several deaths have resulted from ice falling from tractor trailers. Legislation has been proposed and passed as a result of these tragedies, now requiring truck drivers to clean the ice off of the trailers in many northern states with long winters. For example:
In New York legislation was proposed in 2005 after the tragic death of Jessica Smith, who was killed when a 9-foot piece of ice dislodged and flew from the top of an 18-wheel truck into the windshield of a truck traveling in the opposite direction. The driver of the damaged truck consequently lost control of his vehicle and crashed into Jessica’s car, killing her.
In New Jersey in 2008 similar legislation was proposed www.nj.com/news/index.ssf/2008/01/new_jersey_drivers_could_face.html
Similar legislation exists in Pennsylvania firefightingnews.com/article-us.cfm and in other states.
While there are inventors that have identified the problem, and found a solution (see Patent application No. 925794 for a Net Safety Top for a Trailer, filed on 2001-08-09), the trucking industry has failed to adopt any reliable method of preventing the tragic and needless injuries that result from this type accident.
If you know of someone injured by this type of activity contact a lawyer. The accident was not only foreseeable, it was preventable by the trucking company and the truck driver.
To the truck drivers reading this please tell us the methods you or your company use to solve this problem. I would appreciate your telling us what is done when leaving the terminal as well as while on the road. Do you have a 2×4 you run over the truck? Scrape it off by hand? Use one of the patented systems for sale or do you just ignore it, knowing the danger it poses to other motorists on the highways? I look forward to your response.