Winter is rapidly approaching, and with it, snow and the need for plowing, shoveling and snow blowing of driveways, sidewalks and parking lots.
Article 1219 of New York State Vehicle and Traffic Law makes it illegal to plow, shovel or blow snow into a street or highway. This law also covers other items likely to pose a hazard to motorists, including glass, nails, wire, cans, etc.
Fines for a first offense include up to a $150 fine and/or 15 days in jail, plus applicable surcharges.
This law also stipulates that anyone that places or permits to be placed upon any highway any material which interferes with the safe use of the highway shall immediately remove the same or cause it to be removed. This includes snow.
If you are a homeowner and you hire a person to plow your driveway, and you permit him/her to plow the snow into the road, you could be cited under this law.
Article 1220 is similar to 1219 and prohibits throwing, dumping, or depositing any refuse, trash or litter on any street, road, or highway, or even along the right-of-way or on adjacent private lands.
There are exceptions in article 1220 for the use of ashes, sand or salt used in a reasonable manner to provide for winter traction on slippery roads. Farm implements, vehicles or machinery are also exempt from the reasonable or unavoidable deposit of nauseous or offensive matter. This means farm roads may have mud or even manure from the normal operation of adjacent farm properties.
So, even if the easiest way to rid your driveway, parking lot or sidewalk of snow is to put it into the street or road and hope the next pass of the plow will take care of it, take note of this law and find another place to put the snow.
For previous articles on vehicle and traffic law and traffic safety go to the Traffic Safety Board's website at www.franklincony.org/content/Department/View/24.
Dave Werner can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.