Snow job

Now that Labor Day has passed, it’s time in New England to start thinking about the upcoming winter. And in addition to worrying about what the soaring fuel prices will do to heating bills, it’s also time to start making plans to deal with the wonderful outdoor sport known as “driving in winter.”

One of my pet peeves are the incredibly lazy, stupid morons who, when confronted with a snow-covered car, just swipe a view-slit clear on their windshield, hop in, and drive off. They leave their rear windows blocked, their headlights covered, and sometimes even don’t touch their side windows.

The Massachusetts legislature is looking at the problem, and as usual, they’re looking at it as a possible way to get more money: they’re considering a bill to charge people who don’t fully clear off their cars a $500 fine.

I find myself in the uncomfortable position of partially agreeing with the Massachusetts legislature. While normally I have no problems with people endangering themselves — I oppose motorcycle helmet laws and seat belt laws for adults, for example — in this case, they’re creating hazards for for other drivers as well.

I’ve been behind SUVs with snow piled on their roofs that suddenly catches the wind, and a huge block of snow and ice goes flipping up into the air, barely missing me. And once I was driving a vehicle and failed to clear off the roof. I stomped on the brakes, and a huge sheet of snow slid forward and completely buried the windshield in about six inches of snow — well beyond the ability of the wipers to clear. I had to climb out of the car in the middle of the street and sweep it clear before I could drive onwards. So a law mandating the clearing off of all snow from the roof, windows, hood, and lights strikes me as one of those things that should have been too obvious for most people to require a law, but apparently it does.

So I think this is a good idea. But I dunno if $500.00 is an appropriate fine. I think a first offense should be about half that — or less. Repeated offenses would merit a ratcheting up in costs, but first offenses shouldn’t merit half a grand.

Unless, you’re Massachusetts, and look at EVERYTHING as an opportunity for the state to extract more money from the people.

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Senatorial Weather Girls: The Katrina Tally


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